Wednesday, 03 March 2021 05:02

2,799 contributors changed PFAs’

A total of 2,799 Retirement Savings Account (RSA) holders under the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) have changed their Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs), The Nation reported.

The transfers, which are worth N18.9 billion and represents the first batch, took place at the end of the quarter, which ended last December.

The transfers, which occurred among 22 PFAs, following the launch of the transfer window on November 16, 2020.

The RSA holders, who are contributors under the CPS, changed their PFAs after the launch of the RSA Transfer System by the National Pension Commission (PenCom).

Section 13 of the Pension Reform Act 2014 allows RSA holders to transfer their accounts from one PFA to another once yearly.

The transfers are done quarterly  and an RSA holder is only allowed to transfer his or her RSA once yearly.

According to PenCom, the transfer window will ensure that contributors and retirees are satisfied with the services provided by their various PFAs.

Its Director-General, Mrs. Aisha Dahir-Umar said the commission okayed the transfer window after efforts to develop the Enhanced Contributor Registration System (ECRS) in June 2019.

She said: “It is noteworthy that the commission was unable to embark on the full implementation of the RSA transfer policy due to challenges hitherto experienced in its contributor registration system. These challenges were largely hinged on technology, given that in the early days of the pension reform, contributor registration did not include a biometrics component. However, the commission renewed its commitment towards taking the pension industry to greater heights by undertaking the in-house development of some computer Applications that are required to enable the opening of the RSA transfer window.

“Indeed, the activation of the RSA transfer provision is a major milestone attained by the commission in the implementation of the CPS, considering that it has been on the drawing board since the advent of the pension reform.The Commission, therefore, developed and deployed the Enhanced Contributor Registration System (ECRS) in June 2019.

‘’The ECRS has enabled the unique identification of contributors registered on the Commission’s database, which is a critical requirement for smooth RSA transfers. This was followed by the development of the RSA Transfer Application.”

She continued: “The RTS, as the application is tagged, is a unique and robust electronic platform that will enable seamless Retirement Savings Account transfers. The RTS platform is to be utilised for the submission, processing and monitoring of Retirement Savings Account transfer requests. Another important feature of the RTS is that it enables the initiation of an RSA transfer request by an RSA holder in simple steps, while having the capability to conduct other processes in a timely and efficient manner.

“While the transfer of RSAs from one PFA to another by RSA holders is all about enhancing individual choices, it should be emphasised that some due diligence is required. To facilitate RSA holders’ ability to make informed choices, the Commission has expanded its minimum disclosure requirements, by providing more statistics on pension industry performance. Already, a special section has been created on the Commission’s website, containing relevant information on the RSA transfer, to guide RSA holders.

“In addition, the Commission has also developed the minimum information disclosure requirements to enhance the high level of transparency required for the effective operation of the RSA Transfer System, to be adopted by all Pension Fund Administrators. Furthermore, the Commission has also commenced a public enlightenment campaign, in order to ensure that  stakeholders are fully conversant with the operations of this novel initiative.”

The PenCom boss maintained that the activation of the RSA transfer is expected to result in improved service delivery across the industry, as PFAs engage in healthy competition, by providing improved service offerings for the benefit of RSA holders.

She said due to the envisaged competitiveness, the commission has strengthened the Code of Ethics and Business Practices for licensed pension operators, to ensure the sustenance of the high ethical standards the industry has established over the years.

She urged RSA holders to continue to support the industry in maintaining these standards by basing their decision to transfer their RSA on objective considerations.

 

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