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Institutional Insights Speakers

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John Giles

John is a trusted independent professional legal adviser, who is a practising attorney. He is also an information, communications and technology (ICT) lawyer. He has 13 years’ practical experience applying his knowledge to organisations to help them grow and avoid legal problems, difficulties, and disputes. ​

He is a member of the King III IT Governance Sub-Committee. Currently he assists various industry role players (including trustees) understand the practical impact of the Protection of Personal Information (POPI) on pension funds and how to comply with POPI and implement effective privacy projects.

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Michael Falk

Michael Falk, CFA and Certified Retirement Counsellor (CRC) is a partner with the Focus Consulting Group, and a partner and chief strategist on a global macro hedge fund. Formerly, he was the CIO in charge of manager due diligence and asset allocation for a multi-billion dollar advisory firm. His background includes extensive asset allocation research and portfolio development expertise along with a multi-faceted understanding of behavioral finance and retirement issues. His perspective acknowledges that the wisdom of crowds can denigrate into madness at times. Assets should be managed with the serenity to accept the market’s realities; the courage to pursue its opportunities; and the ongoing pursuit of wisdom to understand the difference.

Aside from his consulting work, Michael is part of the CFA Institute’s Approved Speaker List, a contributing member to the Financial Management Association’s (FMA) practitioner demand-driven academic research initiative (PDDARI) group, and the Vice Chair of the Plan Sponsor Council of America’s Investment Committee.

He has also taught for DePaul University (Chicago, Illinois) on their Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certificate programme as an adjunct faculty member, as well as on behalf of the CFA Society of Chicago on their Claritas programme. He is frequently published and quoted in the financial press.

Michael graduated from the University of Illinois with a B.S in Finance and holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and Certified Retirement Counselor (CRC) designations.

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Michael Lalor

Michael is a partner responsible for Ernst & Young’s (EY) Africa Business Centre™.

Michael’s areas of focus includes strategy and business development. He has assisted clients across a range of sectors in projects ranging from business concept feasibility studies to developing processes for innovation and developing blue-sky growth strategies.

As part of his portfolio, Michael is responsible for EY’s thought leadership initiatives in Africa, including their flagship Africa Attractiveness publication. He is currently working with a number of the EY’s client’s from various countries and across a range of sectors to assist them in developing, stress-testing and executing their Africa growth strategies.

Michael holds a Masters degree in Political Economy and Literary Studies.

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Raffaele Della Croce

Raffaele is an Italian national and lead manager for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) project “Institutional Investors and Long Term Investment”, in the Financial Affairs Division.

The OECD has a goal and mission to promote policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world.

The project aims to facilitate long-term investment by investors such as pension funds, insurance companies and sovereign wealth funds, addressing both potential regulatory obstacles and market failures.

Based on research produced for this project, the OECD is contributing to the policy discussions at the level of G20, Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the European Commission, in particular through the new G20/OECD Taskforce on Institutional Investors and Long Term Financing. As part of the OECD Futures Programme, Raffaele has also worked on the project “Transcontinental Infrastructure Needs to 2030/50” in the Advisory Unity to the Secretary General.

Prior to joining the OECD in 2010, he worked in the financial industry for eight years, mainly with Ernst & Young and Moody’s Investors Services, in London. As part of the international teams advising governments or private consortia, he has been involved in the analysis, structuring and negotiation of the largest transactions in the utilities and infrastructure sectors in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region.

Raffaele also serves on the Advisory Committee of the OECD Provident Fund. He was educated at University La Sapienza in Rome and Columbia University in New York.

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Tashia Jithoo

Tashia is a specialist employee benefits lawyer with a particular focus on pension law.

She holds a BA (Hons), LLB (summa cum laude) (University of KZN, Durban), LLM (University of Michigan, USA) and Postgraduate Diploma in Employment Law (UCT). Before qualifying as an attorney, she worked as a researcher and law clerk for Judge Richard Goldstone at the Constitutional Court of South Africa and as an intern at the London-based centre for advice on individual rights in Europe.

She ran the Cape Town practice of Hunter Law, a specialist employee benefits law firm until that firm’s merger with Bowman Gilfillan in 2011. She is now a director of Bowman Gilfillan in the Cape Town employee benefits practice.

Tashia is a co-author of the textbook The Pension Funds Act: A Commentary published by Hunter Law, has authored and co-authored several articles on pensions law issues, is an independent trustee of several retirement funds as well as a leading beneficiary fund in South Africa. She also provides training on pension fund law to retirement fund boards and is a trained mediator.

Formerly the president of the Pension Lawyers Association of South Africa, Tashia is a regular speaker at industry conferences and seminars.

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Viresh Maharaj

Viresh is the Chief Marketing Actuary of Sanlam Employee Benefits and a member of the Sanlam Employee Benefits Executive Committee. In this role, Viresh is responsible for leading the client engagement and marketing functions; development and implementation of a client-centric engagement strategy; establishing operational protocols to facilitate client-centricity; implementation of technological platforms to drive client engagement, intelligence and new business growth; and the implementation and execution of Treating Customers Fairly (TCF) principles.

Viresh has been a member of Sanlam’s Benchmark research team since 2009, which has led the retirement reform debate across various platforms in South Africa. A notable achievement was his direct involvement in South Africa’s first financial services awareness campaign on FaceBook, the Loerie-nominated ‘Sanlam Save Your Future’ campaign, which aimed to create a culture of financial ownership and accountability amongst South Africa’s youth.

He joined Sanlam in 2007 as a product developer responsible for the creation of new group insurance products and applied his orientation towards experimentation and innovation to conceive, implement and distribute a diverse range of group risk products.

He has served as the Vice President of the Association of South African Black Actuarial Professionals, which is a Non-Profit Organisation that aims to support and expand the base of black actuaries.

Viresh was admitted as a Fellow of the Faculty of Actuaries (Scotland) and as a Fellow of the Actuarial Society of South Africa in 2009.

In 2011, he graduated from the UCT Graduate School of Business with an MBA awarded with distinction. He placed in the top eight of his graduating class and was consequently presented the Old Mutual Gold Medal and admitted as an Old Mutual Scholar for high professional performance and outstanding achievement.

Viresh is also a member of Mensa.

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Nersan Naidoo

Nersan was appointed Chief Executive: Investment Core in November 2013. His responsibilities include the oversight of investment teams and investment operations areas for asset management, multi management, hedge funds, derivative structuring, Africa asset management and Satrix.

Prior to that, he was founding member and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Sanlam Investments multi-manager business from 2002, when he joined the Sanlam Group. He was instrumental in building the business to its status as one of the leading multi-managers in South Africa. In addition to his responsibilities as CEO, Nersan was also head of the previous Investment Services sub-cluster, which included Sanlam Collective Investments, BlueInk Investments, Graviton Financial Partners and Graviton Wealth Management. He has served as a member of the Sanlam Investments EXCO for the past six years.

Nersan’s track record of 14 years spans extensive experience in investment management and business leadership, both locally and internationally. Operating from London, he managed the international multi-management business for two years before returning to South Africa in 2009, as CEO of Sanlam Multi Manager International. He joined Sanlam from UBS Warburg where he completed their graduate training programme in London and Johannesburg.

Nersan is a CFA Charterholder and holds a BSc Elec Eng (Hons) degree. He also has postgraduate diploma in Organisational Leadership from Oxford University.

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