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PMs Address at the Launching of the New FNPF Brand Cabinet Ministers;

The Chairman and Board Members of FNPF;

Chief Executive Officer and Staff;

Invited Guests;

Ladies and Gentlemen;

A very good evening to you all.

From the outset, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the traditional welcome given to me. I am indeed delighted to be here today to officially launch the new FNPF brand that includes a new logo, a new website and new staff uniforms.

Government Position on the Fund

Firstly, let me assure you of Government’s commitment to ensuring that the FNPF remains safe, stable and efficient while maximizing long-term returns in the best interests of its members despite the challenges faced domestically and globally.

I acknowledge that the pension rate offered by the FNPF is one of the most generous by world standards and the World Bank has already emphasized the need for a review.

I noted with interest the generous amount paid out to pensioners by the Fund prior to 1999. Some pensioners received three to four times more than their contribution and interest earned. To ensure that the pension fund is equitable, fair and sustainable for our current and future contributors, it is critical that management take the necessary steps now to review and reform the pension scheme.

I urge the Board and Management to undertake this exercise so that the discrepancy in the pension rate is resolved and that consistency is ensured.

A well functioning financial services sector is essential for economic development. We have a world class banking system; however, developments in some components of the sector vary. The bond market, a basic foundation stone for a more sophisticated financial system, is relatively under-developed. FNPF has the capacity to bring about this development through a more effective management of its investment portfolio. Development of a secondary bond market and deregulation of the superannuation industry is being considered with particular consideration given to our relative size.

The FNPF remains one of those institutions that this nation can be truly proud of. From about 867,000 pounds or $2.4 million in 1966, the Fund has grown to about $3.6 billion.

After four decades of growth and diversification, the Fund is now the country’s largest financial institution. It stands unrivalled in its influence – it reaches every corner of this country and the lives of almost all the people of Fiji.

I commend the Fund for its long record of achievements and continued commitment and contribution to national development and to the welfare of our people.

Latest Development in the Fund

Allow me, Ladies and Gentlemen, to revisit some of the Fund’s latest developments.

Last month, the InterContinental Fiji Resort & Spa at Natadola, which is fully owned by the Fund through its investment subsidiary, was opened. This hotel is the largest tourism development in Fiji and will greatly benefit Fiji in more ways than just generating a return on investment for FNPF.

Last week, the Fund opened a new agency in Ba. I am informed that it has served more than 1,000 customers in its first week of operation.

This evening, we are here to unveil the Fund’s new brand.

It is increasingly evident that the Fund is evolving and making the necessary changes and expanding itself for the better - and I encourage the Board, Management & Staff to strive to do their utmost best for FNPF members who are the workers of this country.

Rebranding

It is interesting to note that the Fund’s corporate theme for the financial period 2009-2011 is “Repositioning the Fund over the next decade”, which is a challenge for everybody particularly at this time as we are facing the global financial and economic crisis. This theme requires the Fund to reprioritize its focus in the delivery of quality services in a cost effective manner.

I note that the Fund recognizes that despite being the only superannuation body in Fiji, it still needs to be more competitive and responsive to its customers’ demands; therefore, there is a need to change the way it conducts its business. This is very much in line with Government’s intentions for reform in the superannuation industry.

Over the last few months the Fund has made remarkable improvements in its operations which include:

(i) the strengthening of the Corporate Governance, Internal Audit, Finance and Investment Divisions;

(ii) review and streamlining of all Fund policies including pre-retirement withdrawals;

(iii) a shift in awareness focus to saving for retirement;

(iv) business process re-engineering;

(v) establishment of a Change Management Unit;

(vi) capacity building through the recruitment and training of staff, who are able to deliver the Fund’s strategic plans; and

(vii) the engagement of actuaries to review the pension factor.

Like all change initiatives, the Fund’s major challenge is to convince its members that this rebranding is ultimately for their benefit.

Or put in more simple words – the brand will mean better service for us all, as members of the Fund.

Therefore, changes to the Fund’s corporate culture are inevitable if the Fund is to achieve its objective and provide its members the much needed financial security when they retire from the workforce.

The new brand will re-focus the Fund to:

Meet the changing needs of the marketplace, society and the environment;

Maintain a competitive advantage;

Utilize resources in a more efficient way;

Improve quality of its service;

Be more productive;

Reduce waste;

Reduce risks;

Generate increased profits;

Create a safer work place;

Improve customer satisfaction; and

Improve employee satisfaction.

These changes are necessary for improving productivity, profitability, efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability of the FNPF.

The key to this repositioning endeavour is the physical manifestation of these internal changes so that members are aware that there is positive change in their FNPF.

This evening, the FNPF begins that new journey. As I have stated before, this journey will see the FNPF take deliberate and conscious steps at redefining itself through a new brand which would better reflect its vision, mission and values.

The Fund’s vision is securing members’ future with globally competitive superannuation services.

It will achieve this vision by delivering maximum and sustainable returns and services to members through accountability, fairness, professionalism, integrity, innovation and the will to excel.

The new brand, I am informed, embodies and upholds the Fund’s philosophy.

It is not only unique but has a fresh and compelling proposition that acknowledges ownership of its members and encourages members to view their savings as a retirement income.

The new brand signifies a new way of doing business that is expected by both the internal and external customer and must be delivered by all stakeholders including those who work for the brand and everyone associated with this brand.

FNPF Website

On the FNPF website, this will be seen as an initiative in revamping and rethinking its internet and online strategy.

This evening the new FNPF website is expected to go live under the new domain myfnpf.com.fj

The domain name sums up whose FNPF it is – it is yours, it is everyone’s.

The new website has more useful content, is user friendly and has a more appropriate design and layout for our members.

The homepage highlights the type of information available to members with all they need to know about FNPF.

The Frequently Asked Question feature has been enhanced and now answers questions members have regarding services provided by the Fund. This information will continue to be updated on an ongoing basis.

The new online pension calculator provides members with an opportunity of pre-calculating pension income for different pension scenarios enabling members to make more informed decision on choices available.

I understand that this is just the first phase of website development. The next phase to be launched shortly includes more robust member support services which will enable Fund participants to get answers in real time and without necessarily needing to visit a Fund office. FNPF is also aiming at providing online access to member accounts in future, improving access to members.

FNPF Uniforms

For any change to be realized, the people effecting the change play a crucial role in ensuring its success.

The Fund can change its logo, it can change its slogan and colours, but if its people do not change their attitudes, than this rebranding exercise will be lost and is destined to fail.

I am inspired, therefore, to note that the Board and Management have sought and distributed new uniforms for its

staff that will inspire staff to do business differently.

It is important that when staff adorn their new uniforms from tomorrow, that they start with a new attitude of service with pride and commitment to all customers.

So as a member, I expect friendly and efficient front-line staff serving me. I also expect to be greeted with a cheerful and helpful voice should I engage your telephone service; and if I visit the website, all information is there to assist me with any queries I may have.

Members’ expectations of efficient and effective service should be realized if your rebranding efforts are to be successful. The challenge, therefore, is for FNPF to deliver.

The FNPF brand is only as good as your services and products.

So to the Board, Management & Staff, I urge you all to communicate your brand through your services.

Conclusion

To conclude, I quote from Daniel Kehoe’s series on Management in Action:

“Continuous improvements come from the notion that nothing is perfect – that there is always a better way. Remember though that excellence is attainable, perfection is impossible.” (Unquote).

This initiative will meet with its opposition, the Fund has to rise above it all and ensure that it delivers its strategic targets.

I take this opportunity to congratulate the FNPF Board, Management and Staff for these bold steps at improving the quality of all facets of your service.

Also remember, that the hopes and dreams of all the workers of Fiji are in your hands – remain committed, remain passionate, remain loyal; and most of all stay true to your duties as trustees of members’ hard earned funds.

I now have much pleasure in launching FNPF’s new brand.

Vinaka Vakalevu, Dhanyavaad and Thank You.

__________

COMMODORE JOSAIA VOREQE BAINIMARAMA

Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, National Planning, Public Service, Peoples’ Charter for Change, Information, Sugar, Foreign Affairs, International Co-operation and Civil Aviation, Indigenous and Multi-Ethnic Affairs and Provincial Development

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