Benefits Consulting Services Limited (Bencon) grew out of African Life Financial Services Zambia Limited (Aflife).
In 1992 Anglo-American Central Africa Limited (AACCA), a subsidiary of the Anglo-American mining conglomerate, took advantage of the recent liberalisation policies introduced to create a financial services division to tend to the company’s affairs. This division would go on to be Aflife.
AACCA acquired a consultancy on the creation of contractual savings with a few debut mandates. The company initially focused on business in leasing, insurance brokerage, corporate finance pension administration and consultancy and asset management. Pensions administration, consultancy and Asset management services were created and Aflife then pooled the funds in with the Anglo Group of companies to create what is now Saturnia Regna Pension Fund (SRPF).
By 1996 the division had grown to justify incorporation as a separate wholly owned subsidiary. This subsidiary would be mandated to focus solely on pension fund administration, pensions consultancy and asset management. The subsidiary was initially named AACCA Management Services Limited.
As part of a global restructuring of the Anglo-American Group, in 2000 half of AACCA Management Services was partitioned off to form a new strategic alliance. This came by way of capital injection from Botswana Insurance Fund Management (BIFM). By March 2004 Anglo had sold off its remaining 50% of shares as BIFM increased their shareholding to 70%, with Zambian empowerment consortium Menel Management Services acquiring the remaining 30% equity stake.
A change in statutory ownership requirements came in 2006 as the Pension Scheme Regulation (PSRA) (Amendment) Act No. 27 introduced a provision for all pension fund management firms to have a minimum 51% equity stake in the hands of Zambian nationals. In order to achieve requisite compliance Menel Management Services purchased 21% of BIFM shareholding in exercise of their pre-emptive rights. This ownership balance has been maintained henceforth.
The shareholders subsequently made a decision to fall in line with what was globally accepted industry best practice and separate the functions of asset management on the one hand, and employee benefit administration and consultancy on the other. Aflife continued to offer asset management services, while Benefit Consulting Zambia Limited offered regulated employee benefits administration and consultancy. Individual licenses were sought and each company was overseen by separate independent Board of Directors and management teams.
Bencon, as the current fund administrator of SRPF has overseen its continued growth from the initial seven company membership to over 165 companies catered for under the umbrella fund arrangement. This is in addition to the other pension fund management options available.