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Chuks Udo Okonta
The National Pension Commission (PenCom) has charged Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) to open a branch office in any state where they have up to 10,000 funded Retirement Savings Accounts (RSAs).
This and more are parts of the new rules made by PenCom to strengthen branch and service centres operations of PFAs.
PenCom in a circular entitled: ‘The Operations of Branch Offices and Service Centres By Licenced Pension Fund Administrators’ Signed by the Director-General PenCom Mrs. Aisha Dahir-Umar and sent to all licensed Pension fund administrators and custodians, the Commission noted that it has observed the need for greater presence of PFAs across the country in order to meet the increasing demand for pension services by the public.
The pension industry regulator said it has also observed the the need for more efficient service delivery by PFAs at their branches, adding that to address these issues, it has issued new minimum requirements for the operation of branch offices as well as service centres which were not covered under the previous circular issued in this regard.
Continuing, PenCom said a PFA is also required to open a service centre in a different location within the state, for every additional 10,000 funded RSAs.
It said a PFA shall open a service centre in a state where it has up to 2,000 funded RSAs and that any PFA that is managing the pension funds of state government employees or any other pension scheme under the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS), shall open a branch office in the state capital immediately the state commenced funding of the scheme.
PenCom also mandated every PFA to have branch offices in at least two states in each geo-political zone of the country.
PenCom stated that all branch offices should be located in a conductive and secured environment, stressing that the offices should be easily accessible to the public with visible signage in front of the building.
PenCom warned PFAs not to open a branch office in a building beyond the first floor without making provisions for lift elevators to ensure easy access by RSA holders.
It said a branch office should have a minimum of six staff and service centre a minimum of three.
PenCom submitted that an administrative penalty of not less than N2 million, shall be imposed on any PFA that violates the provision of the circular.