Leadway Pensure’s Stake In FBN Belongs To RSA Holders, Says PenCom

A logo of the National Pension Commission.
A logo of the National Pension Commission.

 

The National Pension Commission has clarified that the equity investments in FBN Holdings made by Leadway Pensure Ltd belong to the Retirement Savings Account (RSA) holders and “not any related party to the pension fund administrator.”

PenCom, in a statement, said the clarification was essential due to “several publications in the media alleging breach of its Regulation on investment of pension fund assets by Leadway Pensure Ltd, a licensed Pension Fund Administrator (PFA), in the equities of FBN Holdings Plc.”

The Commission “categorically states that the allegations are NOT correct and must have been made based on the lack of understanding of the Investment Regulation issued by the Commission.”

READ ALSO: Otedola Acquires ‘Substantial’ Stake In FBN Holdings

PenCom’s clarification comes amid reports that Leadway Pensure’s stake in FBN Holdings had been attributed to its Managing Director, Tunde Hassan-Odukale.

Read PenCom’s full statement below:

ASSETS IN THE EQUITIES OF FBN HOLDING PLC BY LEADWAY PENSURE LTD

The Commission’s attention has been drawn to several publications in the media alleging breach of its Regulation on investment of pension fund assets by Leadway Pensure Ltd, a licensed Pension Fund Administrator (PFA), in the equities of FBN Holdings Plc. The Commission categorically states that the allegations are NOT correct and must have been made based on the lack of understanding of the Investment Regulation issued by the Commission.

For the avoidance of doubt, the Commission wishes to clarify as follows:

1. The equity investments in FBN Holdings made by Leadway Pensure Ltd on behalf of the pension funds under its management are in the name of the pension fund and belong to the RSA holders.

2. Therefore, the equity investments in FBN Holdings Plc as stated in (1) above, cannot be appropriated or classified as shareholdings of any related party to the PFA.

3. Leadway Pensure Ltd is not in breach of the Investment Regulation by investing pension funds in the equities of FBN Holding Plc.

4. Records which can be confirmed from the Securities and Exchange Commission show that the equity investments in FBN Holdings Plc are in the name of the Pension Fund on behalf of the RSA holders.

5. For further clarification please note that:

a. Pension fund assets are managed by licensed PFAs and held in custody by Pension Fund Custodians (PFCs) on behalf of Retirement Savings Account holders and other beneficiaries of the Contributory Pension scheme (CPS), in line with the provisions of the Pension Reform Act 2014 (PRA 2014).

b. Section 69 (b) of PRA 2014 stipulates that the PFA and PFC shall take reasonable care that the management or custody of the pension funds is carried out in the best interest of the retirement savings account holders. Therefore, all investments made by licensed PFAs in eligible securities and corporate entities are “ring-fenced” and belong to the RSA holders and other pension beneficiaries. Accordingly, these pension assets cannot be appropriated directly or indirectly to any individual or related party of the PFA.

c. The provisions of Section 6.1(iii) of the Investment Regulation dealing with conflict of interest, stipulate that:

“The PFA or any of its agents are prohibited from investing Pension Fund Assets in the shares or any other securities, issued through public or private placement arrangements, by related party/person of any shareholder of the PFA”. Related persons/party as defined in Section 1.10 of the Investment Regulation “includes natural persons related by blood, adoption or marriage; legal entities one of which has control or significant influence over the other, or both of which are controlled by some other person or entity; a corporate entity where any of the aforementioned holds 5% or more beneficial interest; and any other relationship that can be reasonably construed as related persons or parties”.

6. In view of the foregoing, the Commission reiterates that there was no breach of its Investment Regulation whatsoever and invites the general public to be guided accordingly.

7. The Commission restates its commitment to fulfilling its regulatory and supervisory functions as well as ensuring the safety of pension assets and the soundness of the Pension Industry.

SIGNED: MANAGEMENT

Dangote, Gbajabiamila, Others Attend Presidential Policy Dialogue Chaired By Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday chaired the presidential policy dialogue session geared towards advising the government over the next four years to deliver on salient policies.

The session is scheduled for two days.

Those in attendance include principal members of the National Assembly, State Governors, Business leaders, All Progressive Congress (APC) leadership, Private Sector Representatives, and Academia.

President Buhari at the event said he expects the discussions at the retreat to dwell on high impact initiatives and strategies that can be adopted for the next four years.

He reaffirmed his commitment to consolidating on the successes of his first term as he promised to implement structures that will accelerate speedy execution of initiatives that would chart a course for the nation in the next four years.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole; Chairman of the Nigerian Governors forum, State Governors, Secretary to the government of the federation, Head of service, Business moguls-Dangote, Jim Ovia among others

 

See photos below…

Reps To Probe PENCOM Activities

Reps To Investigate Crisis In NHIS

 

The House of Representatives on Thursday resolved to set up an ad-hoc committee to investigate the activities of the National Pension Commission from April 2017 till date.

The resolution followed a motion of urgent public importance on the need to investigate the commission over the violation of the PENCOM Act and the illegal use of public funds.

The sponsor of the motion, Rep. Benjamin Wayo, informed the house that the acting Director General of the commission had increased her terminal benefits and that of other senior staff of the commission by 300%.

The ad-hoc committee has four weeks to conclude its investigation.

Police Charge Suspected Pension Fraudster

Court-dockThe Commissioner of Police in Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory (FCT) command has charged Mr Chukwuemeka Timothy, a staff of a pension company, for alleged criminal conspiracy, cheating and forgery contrary to sections 97,322 and 364 of the Penal Code law.

In the first information report obtained by Channels Television, Mr Timothy is alleged to have in March, 2016 procured a forged ‘certificate of compliance’ of the pension deduction and remittance requirement for Utsola Energy Limited in Abuja after collecting the sum of 300,000 Naira.

But following the absence of the defendant and the police prosecutor, the counsel to PENCOM, Elendu Ezeala, informed the court that the prosecutor had sent a letter seeking an adjournment.

Mr Ezeala, however, asked the court to issue a bench warrant against the defendant.

Hearing of the case has been fixed for October 13.

In a related development, the Head of Communications for PENCOM, Mr Emeka Onuora, said the commission in collaboration with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission was compiling the list of employers who had not been remitting deducted pension contributions.

He added that over 9.38 billion Naira has been recovered from firms who deducted pension from salaries of staff under the compulsory pension scheme but failed to remit same, describing it as criminal.

World Pension Summit Closes In Abuja

Pension Summit Besides investing in infrastructure like roads and the power sector, finance experts have advocated investment of pension funds into short term government securities.

Speaking at the end of the World Pension Summit in Abuja, they called for discipline and the engagement of experts in managing the funds.

What must be done to reform the pension system in Nigeria and Africa, often characterized by delayed payment upon retirement or non-enrollment, after years of meritorious service, came to the fore at the event.

The Director-General, National Pension Commission, Chinelo Anohu-Amazu, said that key decisions were being made on how to reverse the trend and ensure that the funds are channelled into ventures that are worthwhile.

Other speakers at the summit also spoke about protecting depositors’ funds that would guarantee a secure future for retirees.

While pension assets in Africa is put at over 400 billion dollars, it still has an infrastructure deficit of 75 billion dollars. This huge resources, according to the experts, could turn the economic development of the region around if well harnessed.

Pensioners Protest Unpaid Entitlement

nup protestMembers of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), under the aegis of Federal Contributory Pension Retirees Sector, have protested the alleged non-payment of their entitlement in the last 10 months by the National Pension Commission (PENCOM).

At a peaceful protest held in Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital, the retirees, carrying placards with various inscriptions, demanded a review of the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) to be limited to workers engaged from 2004 to 2014.

The members alleged that workers, who retired under the CPS, since August 2014 till date, are yet to collect their gratuity, a situation they said has made life unbearable to members.

In view of the alleged anomalies in the new scheme, the protesters said they want a return to the old scheme.

PENGASSAN Threatens Strike Over Lack Of Crude Oil, Unfair Treatment

Oil workersMembers of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), Kaduna Refinery Branch, have given a 12-hour ultimatum to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and PENCOM to reverse the slashing of their contributory pension fund and also supply crude oil to the three refineries across the country to enable them continue production of refined petroleum products.

Chairman, PENGASSAN (Kaduna Refinery branch), Sanusi Abdulhamik, in a statement he issued on Monday, said that the Kaduna Refinery has been shut down for a while due to what he termed as lack of turn around maintenance and non availability of crude oil to enable the workers refine fuel, diesel and Kerosene.

He alleged that rather than supply crude oil to Kaduna, Port Harcourt and Warri refineries, the NNPC has resorted to importation of refined petroleum products into the country, a situation which he described as a deliberate plot by government to sell the three refineries to their cronies.

The workers threatened to embark on an indefinite strike if NNPC failed to supply the refineries with crude oil latest by Tuesday morning, and also service the plants for optimal performance.

While appealing to Nigerians not to see their action as being insensitive to their plight, Abdul-hamik explained that the decision to go on strike was inevitable since NNPC refused to turn around the refineries and supply crude oil to enable them perform their duties.

According to him, there is no justification for government to continue importing refined petroleum products when it can repair and maintain the existing refineries that can guarantee availability of the products across the country.

Pension Fund Competing Well In Equity Market – Stakeholder

Brayant OrjiakorThe Chairman, Seplat Petroleum Development Company, Brayant Orjiakor, said on Tuesday that the pension fund is competing well in the equity market, noting that the World Pension Summit (Africa Special) holding in Nigeria is a great opportunity “for the real impetus to be given to the essence of investing pension funds rightly”.

Speaking on Business Morning, Mr Orjiakor commented on the clamour for pension monies to be loaned out to investors and maintained that “the pension fund in Nigeria has done tremendously well”.

He noted that there had been an increase from “a negative of over two trillion Naira pre-2004 to pension asset of over four trillion Naira in 2014”.

He also stated that “one of the greatest achievements of the Obasanjo administration is putting in place the Contributory Pension Fund which the PENCOM has been driving and it’s also very gratifying that the Jonathan administration has continued to consolidate on this by the new bill they just passed”.

He stressed on the importance of the Summit to lay emphasis on the right issues, especially investment of pension assets. He added that the issue of infrastructure, which is also being discussed, is very important.

“When you look at the infrastructure gap in Africa, in Nigeria and look at the demographics of the continent, you find that having the right access to funds needed for investments in infrastructure is very important for real, sustainable development in the continent.

“For us as a company, we see that the pension asset investment finds good home in very good entities, in the equity market.

“Therefore, when we did our IPO in April of this year, we saw real solid participation by the Pension Fund, competing with the international institutional investors. That is very impressive and going forward, we believe that with the awareness that is being created, not only will that fund grow,  it will find very credible investment outlay in the country and in the continent,” he said.

 

 

Nigerians Didn’t Believe Pension Will Be Real- Austen-Peters

Timi_petersThe Vice Chairman of the Fola Adeola Pension Reform Committee, Mr Timi Austen-Peters, on Monday berated the skepticism that trailed the establishment of the National Pension Bill in 2004 and noted that “nobody believed that pension is going to be real and sustainable.

“At a particular point labour was resistant to change because they didn’t believe that anything will come of it”, he said while speaking about the developments in the pensions market and how it is going to affect the African market as a next frontier market.

He however noted that “by virtue of the amount of work we put into the committee, they saw that all that we were doing was real and transparent; they contributed to everything and that is how we were able to get them on board.

“We able to escape the skepticism and develop the frame work of what we are talking about now”, he added.

Mr Austen-Peters, speaking on Business Morning on the side-lines of the 10th World Pension Summit holding for the first time in Africa, noted that safety of the retiree funds was uppermost in the minds of members of the Committee adding that “beyond that there was problem; when people were promised, pensions there was no money to back up that promise.

“We made sure that whatever framework we were going to put in place was something that was sustainable and backed up with cash to make sure that all promises were kept” he said.

He further noted that the Bill has also put in place risk management mechanisms that will see “someone who manages the money, someone who holds the money, that is the pension fund custodian and the regulator who makes sure that everyone is doing what they are meant to do”, adding that “that the essence of the framework is that there is money somewhere that is been supervised by a regulator and there are checks and balances built into the system”.

He said the scheme has gathered about $25 billion from 2007-till date, with only about 10 per cent of Nigeria’s work force contributing, insisting that “if Nigerians continue to contribute in this sort of sum, it is going to be significant, in terms of value, pension schemes in the world.

The World Pension Summit ‘Africa Special’ is billed to hold in Abuja between Monday, July 7 and Tuesday July 8, 2014.

 

Eric Eggink Urges Africans To Develop Trustworthy Pension Scheme

Eric_EgginkThe Chairman of the World Pension Summit, Mr Eric Eggink, on Monday called on Africans to be developing trustworthy pension schemes so they can be taken care of when they grow old.

Citing Nigeria as one of the leading economies in Africa, Mr Eggink noted that “the demographics show you that pensions will be very important for African countries”.

He urged Africans to “be aware of the importance of pensions and pension schemes” and stressed the need for “developing trustworthy pension schemes not only in Africa, but all over the globe” insisting that the pension is a global issue that must be tackled headlong.

He further stressed the importance for people to embrace the pension scheme, noting that by the year 2015, there will be 2 billion people that will be over 60 years old that “we have to take care of”.

He said discussants at the 10th World Pension Summit, holding in Africa for the first time in Abuja from July 7-8, will be sharing best and worst practices scenario of how pension schemes are being built from different sectors of the economy in different countries all over the world.

Mr Eggink further stressed the importance of choice of investment adding that firms need to convince investors of their credibility and safety of the funds.

“Pensioners should be aware of how you spread the risks”, maintaining that we “have to create a right of expectancy of what is going to be there and how we can create the right vision for the over age and the financing of the over age”, he said, adding that investors should not be made to believe that pension schemes are risk free.

Mr Eggink also spoke about the technological input of the scheme, revealing that “it is about technical schemes of how you build up a pension system and also about the technology of how you build the back office administration” insisting that “if you don’t have a good administration you can’t be transparent with what you are doing with the money”.

Mr Eggink, who was speaking during the Monday edition of Channels Television’s award-winning breakfast show, Sunrise Daily, maintained that for countries where a working social security is not in place “you would have a problem with the profiting because if you don’t take care of the poor people, then you have a problem; the kind of problems that we see happening everyday on the pages of newspapers”.

He also praised the advent of internet in the pensions industry noting that it has helped because people no longer listen to what companies or organisations say; they are intervening and having a dialogue on the internet on what they really need themselves.

Mr Eggink, a Dutch national, also spoke about the World Cup semi-final clash between the Netherlands and Argentina. He hailed the quality of the Argentinians and noted that they are equally as gifted and star-studded as the Dutch team.

He however predicted a win and qualification to the final of the tournament for the Oranje. The match will be played on Tuesday, July 9 at the Arena De Sao Paulo by 8PM.

 

World Pension Summit Africa Commits To Shaping The Future

PENCOMThe Acting Director-General of the National Pension Commission (PENCOM), Mrs Chinelo Anohu-Amazu, has explained that the purpose of the Nigerian Pension Reform was to change the retirement experience of Nigerians and to develop better investment plans for pension funds, a mission they aimed to boost by hosting the World Pension Summit.

She spoke from the Abuja venue of the World Pension Summit Africa, during the special broadcast of Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, where she disclosed that the mission of the summit was to create a platform to discuss retirement issues with a plan to ensure that pension funds in Nigeria serve their real purpose of helping retirees prepare for the future.

The World Pension Summit Africa had been going on in Amsterdam for 10 years but was coming to Africa for the first time with the theme, ‘Shaping The Future’. Part of the reason, according to her was “in recognition of Nigeria’s growing importance in the utilization of pension funds for the larger economy.”

She debunked reports that pension funds had been locked down, explaining that there had been strict regulations of the funds to ensure that it was well managed. She explained that the primary objective of the funds was for them to be available for the retirees at any time; therefore the mode of investing it must be regulated to have this mission well accommodated.

She noted that the employees’ contributions have been increasing and the regulators have been more interested in the safety of the funds in terms of investment.

The World Pension Summit, according to her, would be out to come up with innovative ways to utilize the funds in line with existing regulations – to design safe responsible instruments that would ensure that the Nigerian retirees truly get the benefits of their long term contributions.

There has always been the need to provide more information to Nigerians about the benefits of their pension savings and other details like the retirement age and processes involved. Mrs Anohu-Amazu revealed that there were already nearly 6million retirement savings accounts in the country, but with a working population of about 50 million people, indeed there was still need to give more sensitization to the Nigerian people.

She said that this borders more on general financial literacy education for all Nigerians to enable them make informed choices, adding that it was important to get the youths to understand the importance of pension savings early enough.

“The younger they are, the more they can save till their retirement age. A lot of young people nowadays, when you say pension they think ‘that has nothing to do with me, I’m not getting old yet’ but the beauty of the contributory scheme is that you start from day one to contribute towards your future.

“Those are probably the ones that will get the greatest benefits out of this system because they would have contributed for longer, their funds are invested for longer, so at the end of the day they would have a lot more to go with”, she explained.

She, however, expressed optimism that the commission would get more Nigerians among the 44million working population yet to sign up for pension contributions and also achieve more useful investments of those funds within the next decade.

She also explained the modalities for contribution, as this remains the area where information has always been needed; explaining that the contributory pension system was what the pension reform introduced.

“There’s a percentage contributed by the employer and a percentage contributed by the employee. In the 2004 Act, it was half-half – 7.5% for both (the employer and the employee).

She also added that this was just the minimum requirement according to the law, as some employees decide to contribute more, while some employers have also volunteered to contribute the entire 15% contribution on behalf of their staff.

The laws have also stipulated that all companies with more than 3 persons working for them must register with the pension fund to ensure that they and their staffs contribute. She admitted that this has been a challenge especially in terms of monitoring but that the commission has been working in partnership with other relevant agencies like the Corporate Affairs Commission.

She iterated, “these funds belong to the pensioners” and the PENCOM remained particular about doing all that is required to ensure that the retirees get their money as and when due. They are poised to ensure that pensions are paid directly to bank accounts and that no retiree would be made to queue for his or her entitlement.

The World Pension Summit ‘Africa special’ is billed to hold in Abuja between Monday, July 7 and Tuesday July 8, 2014.

Jonathan Signs Pension Reform Bill Into Law

Jonathan hands to chestPresident Goodluck Jonathan has signed the 2014 Pension Reform Bill into law.

The Act, among other highlights, provides stiffer penalties that would serve as deterrent against mismanagement or diversion of pension funds’ assets under any guise.

With the new law, operators who mismanage pension funds would be liable on conviction to not less than ten years imprisonment or fine of an amount equal to three times the amount so misappropriated, or diverted, or both imprisonment and fine.

The law also empowers PENCOM to institute criminal proceedings against employers who persistently fail to deduct and or remit pension contributions of their employees within the stipulated time.

This was not provided for by the old 2004 Act, which only allowed PENCOM to revoke the licence of erring operators.

The signing ceremony, which took place  in the office of the President, was witnessed by Vice President Namadi Sambo, the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mohammed Bello Adoke and the Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Adamu Muazu.