President, National Association of Insurance and Pension Correspondents (NAIPCO) Modestus Anaesoronye; Managing Director IEI-Anchor Pension Managers Limited, Glory Etaduovie; Head Business Development and Strategy, Jolaade Oduntan and Zonal Manager, Lagos, Cyril Ojo at the annual general meeting of NAIPCO in Lagos.
The Managing DIrector, IEI-Anchor Pension Managers Limited, Glory Etaduovie, who is an Insurance professional and had practiced for about 25 years before joining the pension industry, in this interview, says pension operators derive strong satisfaction supporting the aging with good service, as well as prepare them for graceful retirement. Chuks Udo Okonta, met him.
You have been the Managing Director of IEI-Anchor Pensions for about a year now. Tell us about your achievements?
Let me start with where we were coming from. I met a company with larger potentials than was being utilized. I met a team willing to work but needed someone to grow their confidence and courageously take on the market and take its fair share backed strongly by effective and efficient service delivery – efficient and effective service delivery have become a placebo – common place phrase that has lost its true meaning in Nigeria.
We are adding true meaning to good service culture.
Remember, I came from Insurance. It is slightly a tougher terrain there because the products are largely perceived as abstract. Pension is a near certain market. Each new person you signed on is a long term contract of about 35 years relationship, if not a lifetime. I saw this as a great impetus, unlike the annual renewals of insurance. Every year was a rat race. I thus infused this confidence in them. The spirit and vision has been re-invigorated. We are agog with our new ‘song and rhythm’. The human factor was the most critical factor I needed to get right. So I worked on gaining their trust and confidence. Jointly we looked at a new vision after x-rating where we stood.
You are competing with some bigger PFAs. How are you managing that?
There is no time when competition even among equals have been a child’s play. This has Indeed led to deeper soul searching. One thing stands out, the customer remains the ultimate and determinant of direction. Our size makes us nimble and smartly responsive. This is one advantage we wield. Everyone gets deserved attention. This we pursue to achieve through training and retraining of staff. An informed and engaged staff, is a real asset.
What is your spread in the market?
We have good presence in many states. The market presently has two major strata – private and public sectors. The public sector includes the states and federal. Not many states have latched on to the Contributory Pension scheme, though. We are also positioning in areas with strong potentials. Our RSA client size is over ninety thousand contributors.
What is your assets under management?
We are about 55 billion Naira. And our growth pace is faster now, as we gain more ground.
What are your fund growth plans?
Investment wise, the regulator plays a key role. We have major investment guidelines. This ensures relative fund safety. This is the future of many people. So, there is no room for un-necessary adventure. However, the market presents good opportunities and initiatives – a good blend of Bonds, Treasury Bills, Money market and other safe investments. Private Equity and Infrastructure development are new areas of gradual action.
The other side of growth is aggressively increasing the number of RSAs. Effective market delineation, deployment of our marketing philosophy and drilling down, marketing tools to promote presence and efficiency and presence and importantly, good staff motivation and a sense of security.
What is your view of the industry?
Interesting and exciting. Regulation is strong. Market is less than half explored. It is also a form of social service. You also derive strong satisfaction when you support the aging with good service, as well as prepare them for graceful retirement.
The industry is not over – populated. This is good for control and sanity. If there is ease of entry
and exit, it would create grave danger for it. Contributory pension activities is relatively new. It presents its own challenges. But the collaborative style of the industry makes responses better put together. It is getting stronger and stronger.
It is going to be a critical tool for development shortly. It is positioning. The government is aware of this and seeing it as a partner in progress. It is thus cautiously positioning for collaborative activities. There is a serious gap in infrastructure. This affects other growths and developments.
What role does the ICT play in your industry and company?
The role is critical. Very very critical. This is so if you will be dealing with large numbers of people, records, funds and other statistical details for analysis and decision making. This greatly reduces human errors and increases efficiency and effectiveness. It also creates respect for the industry at large, if there are less complaints.
The industry Regulator recommends at different intervals, new ICT needs. This is apart from individual corporate initiatives
We have deployed much of the needed ICT needs. Presently, we are focused on this for further improvements and action. This enhances customer service, enquiries and enhanced interaction for better satisfaction. People want constant up-dates as to the safety of their money and what the money is doing. Because the has gone IT, that is the only direction, now.
What are the present Industry challenges?
Acceptability, transition, harnessing the informal sector and the economy. Some persons of the old scheme are yet to come to terms with the contributory scheme. Such ones, if in good position stand in the way of implementation. Transition challenges for states because of the old scheme and backlogs. In other instances, the bureaucracy of domesticating the PRA in the states. The poor business environment is also affecting private section adoption and implementation. Some who do, do not remit the staff deductions nor theirs as well. This is immoral and they risk penalty from the regulatory body.
All of these challenges and others are constantly being reviewed by the industry. The Director General and her team are keeping close eyes on details, as the industry matures.