Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa Inc
Related services and key industries
Michelle is an employee benefits 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 and served for many years as a member of the Government Employees Medical Scheme Fraud Forum.
Michelle has extensive knowledge of the medical scheme environment and has advised schemes and other key stakeholders on numerous areas including prescribed minimum benefit legislation, contractual arrangements, rule amendments and investments. She is listed in Who’s Who Legal, 2016 as an expert in labour and employment & benefits.
Her clients have included Nedbank, The Financial Sector Conduct Authority, Council for Medical Schemes, Eskom Pension and Provident Fund, Barloworld and Government Employees Pension Fund.
Michelle has a Bachelor of Art (2001), an LLB (cum laude) from the University of KwaZulu- Natal, a Masters in pension law and a certificate in pension law.
Michelle was quoted in a lead article by Business Day regarding fraud in medical schemes; she is the co-author of an article on transition management which was published internationally. Michelle has appeared on Summit TV to discuss the changes in pension funding and was a finalist in the Top Women in Business Awards 2012. Michelle has also had numerous articles in various publications including Without Prejudice and Legal Times.
Recent experience includes:
- Being part of the team that acted for the City of Johannesburg in a pension dispute where the City was exposed to claims from its pensioners. The Supreme Court of Appeal ruled in favour of the City.
- Being part of the team that assisted the Government Employees Pension Fund in the Constitutional Court where a member’s former spouse was seeking payment of benefits upon divorce. She assisted with drafting the Amendment Bill, which has enabled the fund to implement the ‘clean break’ principle.
- Being part of the team that successfully assisted the Government Employees Medical Scheme with defending its rights to withhold payment to an allegedly fraudulent service provider.
- Providing advice to numerous medical schemes on the impact of prescribed minimum benefits and the implications of the recent court challenge by the Board of Healthcare Funders.
- Michelle is the chairperson of the Rainbow Workers Provident Fund (appointed by the Registrar of Pension Funds).
- Advising, in 2013, on the investment of assets from a large pension fund to a state owned asset manager in the amount of R23 billion of investment in a new fund being raised by the asset manager.
- Advising, in 2016, 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.
- Advising on the allocation of funds between GEPF and Harith (PAIDF2) totalling USD 1.2 billion.
- 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.