PenCom, NAICOM continue discussions on annuity today

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Chuks Udo Okonta

The National Pension Commission (PenCom) and National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) would today continue deliberations on how to resolve the impasse on transfer of annuity assets from life insurance companies to Pension Fund Custodians.

Inspen gathered that the parties held their first meeting last week. And in the meeting, the parties agreed to jointly issue a statement to stem the tension raised when the circular was issued by PenCom. The statement may be issued today after the meeting.

It was learnt that today’s today’s meeting would also help the parties consolidate on achievements reached in the meeting held last week.

PenCom, had last month, mandated life insurers to stop annuity business for three months and within the period transfer their annuity assets to PFCs. A decision NAICOM and insurance operators are not comfortable with.

According to PenCom the decision to move annuity assets from life insurers PFCs is to ensure consistency with Pension Reform Act (PRA) 2014 and strengthen the processing of administration of retirement benefits.

A circular entitled: Strengthening the Administration of Retirement Benefits under the Pension Reform Act (PRA) 2014, with reference number PENCOM/INSP/CIR/TECH/16/17, issued on November 3, 2016, to pension fund administrators and Custodians and signed by its Head, Surveillance Department, Muhammad Umar, the pension regulator noted that in line with the PRA 2014, it resolved that the custody of retiree life annuity shall henceforth, be domiciled with PFCs as provided for in Section 56 of the pension act.

PenCom mandated all life insurance companies currently providing life annuity for retirees under the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) to open an operational account jointly with a PFC of their choice and advice the commission.

It maintained that all life insurance companies currently providing retiree life annuity under the CPS should transfer the corresponding assets in their possession/custody to the PFC of their choice.

The commission also noted that the approval of new request for annuity should be put on hold with immediate effect, until life insurance companies meet the custody and transfer conditions.

PenCom said life insurance companies are required to open an account with the custodian of their choice and also execute custodial service agreement that shall state the terms and conditions of the contract between the parties.

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