Director and Chair, South Africa
Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa Inc
Related services and key industries
Key industry sectors
Michelle was appointed South African Chair in May 2022, and practices as a financial services regulatory lawyer based in Johannesburg.
She advises on the Pension Funds Act, the Medical Schemes Act and the Financial Advisory Intermediary Services Act and the commercial aspects of these laws. She has extensive experience in advising both private and public entities.
Michelle is a former national president of the Pension Lawyers Association and is a regular public speaker and media commentator. Michelle is the former chairperson of the Dispute Committee of the Government Employees Medical Scheme.
Michelle has extensive knowledge of the medical scheme environment and has advised schemes and other key stakeholders on numerous areas including governance, contractual arrangements, rule amendments and investments. In addition Michelle has assisted with the drafting of statute and provided key advice to regulators. In addition she has advised in respect of various commissions of inquiry at various levels including the health market inquiry and state capture commission.
She is listed in Who’s Who Legal, as an expert in employment, benefits and labour. In addition Michelle is ranked for 2019 and 2020 as an Acritas Star.
Her clients have included regulators, funds, medical schemes, large corporates and government entities.
Michelle has a Bachelor of Art (2001), an LLB (cum laude) from the University of KwaZulu- Natal, as well as a Masters in pension law and a certificate in pension law.
Michelle is a regular contributor to media including in the mediums of articles, radio and television. Michelle is a regular presenter at conferences and was a finalist in the Top Women in Business Awards 2012 and 2019. Michelle has also had numerous articles in various publications including Without Prejudice and Legal Times.
Professional experienceExpand all Collapse all
- Advising on the investment of assets from a large pension fund to a state owned asset manager in the amount of R70 billion of investment in a new fund being raised by the asset manager.
- Providing advice to larger corporate on the transfer from a restricted pension fund to an umbrella fund. The advice included the negotiation of the participation agreement and consideration of ancillary documentation relevant to participation in an umbrella fund.
- Continuing to advise the largest pension scheme in Africa on governance concerns, investment agreements (including investment in new private equity funds) and transactions.
- Providing pension advice, in conjunction with the litigation department, to the financial regulator in respect of a well-publicised regulatory dispute.
- Representing a pension fund, in an appeal to the Appeal Board of the Financial Services Board in respect of the failure of the Registrar of Pension Funds to register rule amendments. The outcome of the appeal has far reaching consequences for funds established by Sectoral Determination.
- Providing an opinion on a client's obligation to pay statutory benefits to employees in Zambia.
- Amending legislation relevant to the provision of home loan guarantees by a large fund.
- Advising in respect of the Health Market Inquiry in respect of the provision of medical scheme legislation.
- Advising the regulator in respect of prescribed minimum benefit legislation.
- Advising fund on the implication of a legislative conduct relevant to continued membership of employees.
- Advising a large fund in respect of the eligibility and payment to a former member where the former member has been identified as not having been eligible for membership. The advice was at the levels of the High Court, Supreme Court of Appeal and Constitutional Court. In addition, providing ongoing advice to the parliamentary inquiry and State Capture Commission, and interfacing with the Hawks.
- Advising the regulator on the application of medical savings accounts in medical schemes.
- Advising a large medical scheme in relation to the application of legislation on personal information.
- Advising a large medical scheme on the investment criteria set out in the Medical Schemes Act.
- Providing advice on the exemption process set out in the Medical Schemes Act.
- Providing advice, on the various medical scheme issues, in various litigious matters.
- Representing and arguing matters before the Appeal Board as contemplated in the Medical Schemes Act.