August 17, 2020
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The Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) in the country are currently jostling to retain their current customers as the pension Transfer window is set to commence, LEADERSHIP learnt.

Some customers, had, before now, complained about low quality services they were getting from their respective PFAs, and expressed disappointment over the inability to switch PFAs unless the transfer window is opened.

It was learnt that most pension fund operators have, recently, invested and upgraded their Information Technology (IT) system to provide seamless and efficient services to Retirement Savings Account (RSA) holders in a bid to retain them when the window is opened by year end.

When the window is finally opened, market observers expect a stiffer competition among pension fund operators in a battle to outdo one another in the pension industry, which experts believe, would be to the benefits of over nine million pension subscribers.

Section 13 of the Pension Reform Act, 2014 allows Contributors to move their Retirement Savings Account (RSA) through a transfer window from one Pension Fund Administrator (PFA) to another, provided that it is not more than once in a year.

Since 2004 when the new pension scheme was established till now, there were efforts to open the transfer window, but most contributors, according to findings, have dual or multiple identities with some having incomplete information, while some information provided are already outdated.

Some, it was learnt, had changed residential and official addresses severally since they last submitted their data, hence, making the already data at the disposal of PFAs inferior and lack the needed quality to commence transfer Window.

The pension transfer Window was meant to enhance quality service delivery of the PFAs to their clients, by making the operating environment competitive, hence, leading to better customer service delivery.

For the transfer Window to commence, a new or updated data of the over nine million pension contributors have to be recaptured to ensure that, going forward, the data at the disposal of PFAs have the needed quality to kickstart the initiative.

To this end, PFAs have embarked on data recapturing of their customers in the last one year and a sizable number of RSA holders have so far been captured, hence, the reason why the industry regulator deem it fit to open the transfer window by year end.

A statement from PenCom and made available to LEADERSHIP, at the weekend, noted that the commission has been working assiduously to actualise the provisions of Section 13 of the Pension Reform Act, 2014, saying, preparatory to the opening of the Transfer Window, the Commission developed and deployed the Enhanced Contributor Registration System (ECRS) in September 2019.

Furthermore, the Commission said, it has developed the RSA Transfer System (RTS), a robust electronic platform that would enable seamless RSA transfers.

The opening of the transfer window, it stressed, will facilitate full and equitable pension assets portability within the pension industry, enhance ethical competition amongst the PFAs and improve service delivery to RSA holders. The Commission is optimistic that all necessary preparations will take place to enable opening of the RSA Transfer Window by the end of the year.

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