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PENCOM hands off management of First Guarantee Pension after 8 years


PENCOM hands off management of First Guarantee Pension after 8 years

The National Pension Commission (PenCom) on Monday terminated its eight-year interim management of First Guarantee Pension Limited (FGPL) as the firm elected new directors.

FGPL was, effective August 15, 2011, taken over by PenCom as a result of incessant shareholders’ squabbles and several issues of adverse corporate governance in the Pension Fund Administrator (PFA).

After an Extra-ordinary General Meeting held on Monday, July 8, 2019 in Abuja, the promoters of First Guarantee Pension Limited closed ranks and elected a new board to give direction to management of the company.

However, all efforts to reach PenCom were not successful as Peter Aghahowa, its head of corporate communications, did not respond to calls and text message sent to his phone.

The new board chairman is Kashim Ibrahim-Imam, while members of the board are George Ozodinobi, Charles Dim, Ahmed Salik, Austin Opara, Ghali Umar NaAbba, Tsegba Terngu, and Pat Asadu.

Ibrahim-Imam earned degrees in Political Science and International Economics from Ahmadu Bello University and University of Maiduguri. He had a banking experience before he left for politics and business.

FGPL obtained operational licence in 2006. It operated a normal business until July 2011 when the pioneer board resigned.

On August 15, 2011, an Interim Management Committee (IMC) made up of Issa Aremu (chairman), Johnny Ojeaga (director), and Chima Akalezi (MD/CEO) was appointed by PenCom. Steve Nwadiuko is the current managing director/CEO of FGPL.

BusinessDay contacted Ivor Takor, current IMC chairman, who took over from Aremu, but he said he was not aware of the PenCom hands-off and EGM. He said PenCom would be in a better position to respond.

For eight years since August 2011, FGP had been under the management of the regulatory authority.

At the EGM, the promoters resolved to take over the business after the stabilisation effort of the regulator.

“We thank PenCom for the effort put in place to keep the company running,” said Ibrahim-Imam, the new chairman.

“First Guarantee Pension has potential for growth. We urge the new board to work hard and reposition the company. Its fundamentals are good and it equally has goodwill in the market space,” said Nze Chidi Duru, the pioneer vice chairman of FGPL.

According to Duru, the new development represents a change of baton and a resolve to strengthen the governance and processes of FGPL. It brings to an end the participation and involvement of PenCom in the management of FGPL.

FGPL is set to overhaul its operations, processes and system to enable it position and attack the market across segments. Plans are at advanced stage to engage consultants to guide on governance, control, risk and compliance, the new board said.

Medium- and long-term strategies are being developed to enable FGPL catch up with lost market share, it said. FGPL is one of top 10 Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) in the country.

The Nigerian total pension assets hit N9.03 trillion as at March 2019, while Federal Government securities took more than 70 percent of this. The industry targets 20 million retirement savings customers by year end 2019.