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IRFA reviews its acclaimed industry awards programme


Introducing the IRFA Lwela Ukwenza Kahle Awards – Recognising Excellence

Exciting news for the retirement sector is that the Institute of Retirement Funds Africa has rethought and rebranded its annual awards programme, long recognised as the arbiter of achievement in the industry.

According to IRFA President Geraldine Fowler “excellence is a journey and being recognised for this is one small aspect of what this means for those who embark on it.”

She continues “over the years the IRFA has challenged itself to ensure that our awards reflect this journey of excellence. It recognises that we too need to strive to develop an awards programme that meets the needs of all who enter and all our other supporters. We want an awards programme that recognises excellence and innovation across the spectrum in continuously changing times. When recognition is given we want the award recipient to be confident that their direct stakeholders and peers place significant value on it. The awards programme has evolved over the years and this year we have reached a turning point. We have reduced the number of awards and structured it in such a way that the entrants scoring the highest will receive recognition for achieving excellence in essential focus areas which collectively result in optimum outcomes for the fund and its members. For us, this is reflected in the new name of the programme when translated from isiZulu into English it is the “Strive to do Good” Awards.”

The awards programme has certainly developed considerably since starting out as an incentive for recognising retirement fund communication practices over 35 years ago to covering compliance , innovation and excellence in 6 essential focus areas of retirement fund operation, namely stakeholder engagement, transformation, trustee development, financial management and reporting, governance and investment practice.

Another factor in remodelling the programme according to IRFA Executive Director Wayne Hiller van Rensburg is to encourage entrants from a greater variety of retirement funds, from smaller funds to large umbrella funds. “It is the programme, process or strategy our judges evaluate, not the size of the operational budget” he emphasises, “there will be no distinction between classes and types of funds.”

The entrants will be recognised as follows:


  • A single Gold Award for the entrant who scores the highest overall across all 6 categories.

  • A single Silver Award for the runner up.

  • Bronze Recognition Certificates for those entrants reaching a defined score overall (75% or more) in any of the focus areas.

  • Innovation Recognition Certificates for those entrants who deserve recognition for an innovative idea or practice in any of the focus areas. The recognition will be for the five highest scoring entries.

In addition, says Cheryl Ward, IRFA Board Member and the awards champion, “to enter this year’s programme, entrants will be required to provide a wide range of information on their practices and a clear declaration that the entrant has complied with all regulatory requirements and that there are no known matters that could bring harm to the members of the fund. “


She concludes “we believe the Lwela Ukwenza Kahle awards programme will recognise retirement funds who are leaders in showing the way to achieving better retirement outcomes for members, pensioners and society at large” adding “they will have broken through what is merely expected and achieved outstanding benefits for all their stakeholders through operation, merit and distinction.”


The Lwela Ukwenza Kahle awards programme opened for entries on the 28 April 2022 and the final deadline for entry submissions is the 13 July 2022.

The Gold and Silver Award winners will be publicly recognised at the IRFA conference in Durban on the 5 September 2022. Bronze Award and Innovation Award winners will have their names displayed at the conference exhibition and certificates will be sent by email.

Hiller van Rensburg concludes “one of our primary goals in developing our awards process has always been to surface practices which rank among the best in the sector, and to share these for learning, development and the greater good. We have not lost sight of this in the re-engineering and rebranding process.”

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For further information contact Wayne Hiller van Rensburg on wayne@irfa.org.za



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