October 1, 2018 / 1:59 PM / 8 months ago

South African state pension fund's assets grow 8.6 pct

JOHANNESBURG, Oct 1 (Reuters) - The value of assets managed by South Africa’s state-owned pension fund rose by 8.6 percent in the year to March 2018, supported by a diversified investment strategy, the fund said in its latest annual report on Monday

The Public Investment Corporation (PIC), which manages pensions of civil servants and is Africa’s biggest pension fund, said assets under its custody grew to 2.08 trillion rand ($147 billion) from 1.91 trillion rand the year before.

“Through prudent investment decision-making, underpinned by diversification, robust investment process ... the PIC portfolio performed brilliantly in the midst of domestic and global economic and political challenges,” Chief Executive Dan Matjila said in the report.

During the year, 9.5 billion rand was approved for impact investments, which provide capital to address social and environmental issues, 5.8 billion rand for unlisted properties and 3.25 billion rand for investing in private equity and structured investment products, the report showed.

The PIC, which has major stakes in some of South Africa’s largest companies as well as other investments in sub-Saharan Africa, has come under fire this year after an opposition party alleged its CEO had misused funds and made careless investment decisions. The PIC and Matjila have denied any wrongdoing.

In August, President Cyril Ramaphosa agreed to set up a commission of inquiry into the alleged shortcomings at the PIC as ordered by the treasury in July.

$1 = 14.1523 rand Reporting by Nqobile Dludla; Editing by Mark Potter

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