“Those who defend an obsolete interpretation of fiduciary duty sometimes justify the active omission of sustainability considerations by asserting that sustainability dynamics somehow have no impact on financial assets.” – Al Gore and David Blood (UNPRI)

Fiduciaries (Trustees and Directors) are not always empowered to serve and to ensure that those who manage other people’s money act in their beneficiaries’ interests. By empowering fiduciaries through a programme of trustee education and active ownership, we hope to contribute to better investment practices in South Africa, ultimately leading to a more sustainable future. Currently we are working with fiduciaries in retirement funds that represent trustees.  We follow a multi-stakeholder approach, with organised labour as a key constituent.

What has been done

This programme has successfully developed sustainable infrastructure and resources for South African retirement fund trustee development initiatives for the benefit of Labour trustees and senior labour representatives. These resources enable Labour trustees and shop stewards to ultimately benefit retirement fund members by upskilling their financial literacy levels as retirement fund trustees, and to confidently and competently exercise their fiduciary duties in representing ordinary worker retirement interests.

344 senior labour representatives have benefited from the project by having participated in structured workshops held over a 6-year period. Due to the success of the pilot workshops and the demand for ongoing training workshops by Labour, the workshops continue to be offered to Labour trustees in a sustainable manner. This is due to the relatively constant demand for such workshops which benefit Labour trustees. In addition, Labour trustees who have benefited from having participated at a workshop are quick to request that additional workshops be offered to address other topics of relevance and importance to Labour trustees. 

The prevalence of the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020 encouraged us to think creatively around how future workshops would be held. As such, we were able to host 6 online workshops between 2020 and 2021.

In 2020, we established an online trustee education platform which will help us to provide post-workshop learning opportunities. The Atleha-edu platform is free to use for all and provides information relevant to retirement fund stakeholders in easy-to-understand language. Furthermore in 2021 we introduced focus groups with a select cohort of our Labour delegates in which content made available on the Atleha-edu platform was discussed.


The workshop is assisting a lot because I have gained and would be able to plough back as a trustee. It is really projected at a good pace as it accommodates different levels of understanding at once.

2017 Labour Trustee Development Report

The workshop was more beneficial to the trade unionist since we do not have these skills of trustees. We will from now on use the information acquired to effectively and efficiently perform as a trustee of the fund and its members.

Labour delegate 1

I would like to express appreciation for providing the opportunity to be exposed to this critical/valuable information. Keep up the good work of empowering Labour on Investment Ownership Participation.

Labour delegate 2

Below are testimonies from delegates who have attended our fundamentals workshops as well as a summary of some of the activities in a typical workshop.

Programme Feedback

To ensure that each year our programmes are up to date and are beneficial to the beneficiaries we compile programme reports annually. Follow the link for the detailed report:

Overview of Retirement Fund Trustee Development 2018

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