From left: Polycarp Anyanwu, Head, Information & Communication Technology Department, Peter Aghahowa, Head Corporate Communications Department, Head, Benefits & Insurance Department, Mrs Ekanem Aikhomu, Director General, National Pension Commission, Mrs Aisha Dahir-Ahmed, Head, National Databank Management Department, Mrs Grace Usoro and Head, Surveillance Department, Ohioma Ehimeme at the event.
WELCOME ADDRESS BY AISHA DAHIR-UMAR, DIRECTOR GENERAL, NATIONAL PENSION COMMISSION AT THE OFFICIAL VIRTUAL LAUNCH OF THE RETIREMENT SAVINGS ACCOUNT (RSA) TRANSFER SYSTEM (RTS) ORGANIZED BY THE NATIONAL PENSION COMMISSION ON 16 NOVEMBER 2020, AT ABUJA
I am highly honoured to welcome you all to the Official Virtual Launch of the Retirement Savings Account Transfer System by the National Pension Commission.
The transfer of Retirement Savings Accounts is empowered by the provision of Section 13 of the Pension Reform Act 2014, which allows a pension contributor or retiree to move his or her RSA from one Pension Fund Administrator to another, provided that it is not more than once in a year.
Indeed, the activation of the Retirement Savings Account transfer provision is a major milestone attained by the Commission in the implementation of the Contributory Pension Scheme, considering that it has been on the drawing board since the advent of the Pension Reform.
The Commission is grateful to all invited guests for accepting our invitation to participate by joining this Virtual Launch. We acknowledge in particular, the Special Guest of Honour, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, for accepting to perform this virtual official Launch, despite his crowded schedule. Undoubtedly, this underscores the Federal Government’s commitment to supporting the Commission’s activities.
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 has 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.
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.
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.
The Commission has also conducted training workshops for Pension fund Operators while an industry simulation exercise was carried out, in order to ensure that the RTS functions efficiently, as designed.
Distinguished Participants, while the transfer of Retirement Savings Accounts from one Pension Fund Administrator to another by RSA holders is all about enhancing individual choices, it should be emphasised that some due diligence is required.
Therefore, in order 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 all stakeholders are fully conversant with the operations of this novel initiative.
Indeed, the activation of the RSA transfer is expected to result in improved service delivery across the pension industry, as Pension Fund Administrators engage in healthy competition, by providing improved service offerings for the benefit of RSA holders. Due to the envisaged competitive activities, 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 pension industry has established over the years. We urge all RSA holders to continue supporting the pension industry in maintaining these ethical standards by basing their decision to transfer their RSA solely on objective considerations.
In concluding my remarks, I wish to reiterate that the Launch, which is being conducted today, signifies the official opening of the RSA Transfer window to facilitate the commencement of Retirement Savings Account transfers by interested RSA holders. Once again, the Commission appreciates the support of all stakeholders for participating in today’s event.
Thank you and God bless.