Since they made off with the people’s money, I have heard the word “Ponzi”being used over and over again. To my chagrin, there are persons who are attempting to draw parallels between it and Social Security. They are wrong in their conclusions. Here’s why. To start with, the Finance and Investments Department is well staffed with persons trained in accounting and in investment management. They report to the Deputy Director and Director who themselves are seasoned in accounting. They, in turn, report to a chairman who is himself experienced in accounting; and whose Board consists of two other persons versed in accounting. Surely, therefore, if any mistake is made, some one of them will notice it and have it corrected! On the top floor in the far corner of Social Security, there is a department that is three persons strong. It is the Audit Department, unnoticed, unheralded, but vitally important. It is this department that ensures that we do what we are supposed to do when we are supposed to do it. Our Audit Department is staffed with eagle eyed people. Unlike the rest of us who report to the Director/CEO, they report directly to the board. They are the first line of defense against irregularity. Another line of defense against irregularity is the external audit that, by law, we subject ourselves to annually. Currently we are audited by the internationally reputable firm of Panel Kerr Foster, and even though they have been auditing us for the past years, we have had, in concert with new international standards, different persons for the review each year. I must report that occasionally we are chastised over minor administrative procedures, but never over money imbalances. Added to that mix is the legally mandated triennial actuarial assessment. Over the years, we have been assessed by 4 different actuaries (at different times), with Derek Osborne of HorizonowTM being our most recent. We have agreed with them and we have disagreed with them, but we have never influenced their reports. They analyse the data and present only what the data says to them. And everytime, they have determined that the system is actuarially and financially sound. The last two reports have been shared with the public and are available on our website, unedited. The assets that we say we own are real. There is money in the banks and in FINCO. Property ownership of Canne-a-sucre, Kawaja, Franklands, Winterforest, Pinneys and a few other places are not fictional although readers may not all know their exact locations. SKNANB, C&W, SLH, TDC, LUCELEC, are real companies in which we have shares. Loans that have been made to GoSKN, NIA, SKASPA, NASPA, SKNDB, FND, NHC, NHLDC, SKCCU, NCCU are being paid back with interest and all of them are current on their payments. And in any case, we have a sovereign guarantee on our funds. Social Security is risk averse; indeed we operate in a capital preservation mode. Hence, any proposal that is made to us is thoroughly investigated, using our regional and international links where necessary. Sometimes, but not often, our information, although proprietal is even prematurely leaked to the press! The board membership has already been increased from nine to 12 persons to allow greater representation of society. They, too, engage in training sessions from time to time. To present balance in this article, I will admit that we promise phenomenal returns to insured and compliant persons; and last week I reported how many times we have kept that promise. We are here and we are here to stay! In the future, we will continue to protect our people and our assets by continuing to share information with our sister systems, we will continue to train our staff and expose them to seminars and conferences that build up our expertise and continue to keep you informed of developments that affect your financial future. We call upon other financial institutions with the know-how to join us in this venture. Meanwhile, do not be fooled by fast talking, quick thinking, pretty faced, well dressed salespersons, offering schemes that seem too good to be true. Do not be fooled. They are wolves dressed like sheep. Bolt. But by far the best defense against Ponzi that we have is YOU. You, the educated, informed, questioning and caring public. You are the sunlight that sanitises us. We do our part through articles like these, through the Social Security and You television programme, through radio programmes such as Social Security Five and Because you deserve a future; through publications/newsletters such as Things you should know about Social Security, Vision and Insight. Accountability and transparency are our hallmarks. So keep questioning. That is the surest way of safeguarding your money. Honestly!
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