Jordan Strategy Forum Hosts Social Security Investment Fund in a Discussion Session
Jordan Strategy Forum (JSF) hosted the Social Security Investment Fund (SSIF) CEO Kholoud Saqqaf in a discussion session entitled “Social Security Investment Fund: stimulating investment partnerships and achieving financial sustainability”. Saqqaf said that this session reflects the Fund's commitment to partner with strategic peers from the private sector and to discuss potential joint investments that enable the Fund to augment the social security corporation assets, in addition to these investments role in supporting the national economy and enhancing the business environment. According to 2019 preliminary financial statements, the SSIF’s total assets grew by 7.8% at the end 2019 to reach JD 10.98 billion compared to JD 10.19 billion as at the beginning of 2019. The income also increased to reach JD 559 million by the end of 2019, compared to JD 434 million at the end of 2018, constituting a 29% growth. This was due to the growth of dividends , returns on fixed income instruments, financial lease loans and real estate investments. SSIF CEO also reviewed the Fund’s major achievements during 2019 that are represented by expanding the investments in real estate, strategic shareholding companies, financing several projects in health, infrastructure and transportation sectors through financial lease, establishing 3 solar energy stations to provide electricity to the hotels owned by the Social Security Corporation (SSC), SSC branches and the SSIF headquarter. Throughout last year, SSIF also started the renovation of the Crowne Plaza/Petra that is expected to open mid next year. Furthermore, the Fund revisited the management agreements with its 5 and 4 stars hotels operator, InterContinental Hotels Group, and improved the contractual terms to ensure that these hotels become more competitive, provide better services, and achieve better returns Saqqaf emphasized that the Fund , as an anchor financial investor, serves as a long term reliable partner for the private sector in many sectors including banking, mining and industrial companies, energy, tourism and others. Based on its strategy ( 2019 – 2021) , SSIF is seeking strategic partnerships with private sector investors and developers with technical expertise and track record that might be interested to look thoroughly into the potential investment opportunities in infrastructure, agriculture, healthcare, tourism, real estate sectors . Saqqaf pointed out that the Fund in partnership with the commercial banks company have recently established a new company to invest in infrastructure projects that are proven to be feasible. She also stressed that the Fund’s investment decisions are made based on pure investment criteria and economic feasibility and in accordance with good governance principles. JSF Chairman, Abdel Elah Al-Khatib stated that this session reflects the Forums’ efforts to promote partnership between the public and private sectors, and induce an evidence-based dialog to guide decision makers and the private sector in promoting sustainable economic growth. He also highlighted the social impact of the Fund’s investments, especially in job creation. Khatib also stressed on the importance of learning from the practices and experiences of different funds around the world, particularly regarding investment and governance that may enhance the Fund's work even further. JSF CEO Dr. Ibrahim Saif highlights the fund’s vital role in sustaining and developing the assets of the Social Security Corporation (SSC) whose pensioners significantly grew during the last 20 years from around 366,330 in the year 2000 to 1.3 million pensioners at the end of 2019. The increase in the pensioners’ contributions was accompanied with an increase in the Fund’s investments returns. As a result, the Fund’s assets grew from JD 4.4 billion at the end of 2005 to reach JD 10.98 billion by the end of 2019. The Fund heavily invests in treasury bonds that constitute 55.7% of the Fund’s total portfolio, while the rest are distributed over bank deposits, public shareholding companies and other investment instruments. According to Saif, the trend to concentrate investments in bonds is global, SSIF’s bonds portfolio proportion of the total portfolio is adjacent to other funds in the Netherlands, Germany, Turkey, Italy and Canada. Saif emphasizes on the importance of investing in feasible mega projects in transport, energy, water and tourism sectors in addition to the public-private partnership projects after the recent adoption of the new Partnership law, such as the Marka Airport Project, the Royal Medical University, Royal Medical Services Hospitals and others.