PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – Minister Lee addresses comments regarding the investment of the AOV funds managed by SZV by stating that it is once again unfortunate that the public is being misled to believe that investing pension funds is illegal. The investment revenues form a substantive part of the AOV pension reserve. Without the historical investments by the funds, the reserve would be substantially lower. Legal opinions dating back 60 years to the start of the AOV funds state that in general, pension funds are allowed to invest their funds in order to remain financially sound. If not, this will lead to higher premiums or lower pension payouts. The same is applicable for the AOV funds. Not investing these large reserves would lead to losing money daily due to inflation.
“The last couple of days there has been a lot of discussion pertaining to my person in particular with regards to the legality of investments from the AOV funds by the SZV” said Minister Emil Lee. “To start off, this is all old news that was shown false then. We had this very public discussion at length in 2016 resulting in the conclusion that SZV is working within the legal framework regarding the investments in the AOV funds. What was true three years ago is still true today. I am concerned that this discussion might create unnecessary unrest for the public. I feel obliged to respond on these incorrect statements again.”
The ordinance for AOV includes provisions for investing the pension funds. Over the years, SZV has established a balanced investment policy on how to invest these funds and how to balance risks versus rewards. The policy established by Management and the SZV’s Investment Committee on the advice of the Board approved and included measures to safeguard the funds, ensuring that high risk investments are not permitted.
Having obtained the highest possible advice on the legality of these very specific investment procedures, the policy is embedded in the organization. For each proposed investment the SZV Investment Committee (SZV personnel, external and experienced investment advisors and a representative of the Supervisory Board) performs an in-depth analysis which is completed by an advice to the Director of the SZV. This procedure has been followed for both the Government Building and its portion of the loan for the New Hospital. SZV is transparent by explaining their investment policies in the annual financial statements.
“We can only speculate what the motivation could be from people to come up with these proven false statements again. We should not allow false information to spread and create unnecessary distrust in our systems.” said Minister Lee.
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