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PenCom wants PFAs to open branches in states with 10,000 clients

The National Pension Commission (PenCom) has directed Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) to open branches in each state of the federation where they have up to 10,000 funded Retirement Savings Accounts (RSA).

This ensures that the RSA holders, including pension contributors and retirees, have better access and are closer to their PFAs for effective service delivery and complaint resolutions.

Besides that, the PFA shall also be required to open a Service Centre in a different location within the State for every additional 10,000-funded RSAs.

This is contained in a circular on PenCom’s website issued to all licensed Pension Fund Administrators and Custodians with the theme: ‘Circular on the Operations of Branch Offices and Service Centres by Licenced Pension Fund Administrators’.

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According to the Commission, a transition period of 12 months after approval and issuance of this circular has been provided to enable PFAs to to deploy adequate resources in their Branch Offices and Service Centres to implement this circular effectively.

The circular signed on behalf of the director general, PenCom Aisha Dahir-Umar, reads, “The Commission has observed the need for greater presence of Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) across the country to meet the increasing demand for pension services by the public.

The Commission has also observed the need for more efficient service delivery by PFAs at their Branches. To address this issue, the Commission has issued new minimum requirements for the operation of Branch Offices and Service Centres, which were not covered under the previous Circular issued by the Commission”.

The objectives of this circular, it noted, are to ensure a more significant presence of Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) across the country to meet the increasing demand for pension services by the public and ensure more efficient service delivery by PFAs, to RSA holders.

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The Commission further directed that a PFA should open a Service Centre in a State with up to 2,000 funded RSAs.

In addition, any PFA 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 after the State commences funding of the Scheme.

“Notwithstanding the other requirements, every PFA shall have Branch Offices in, at least, two states in each geo-political zone of the country, the circular directed.”

The Commission also stated that the Branch Office shall be in a conducive and secure environment. The office shall be readily accessible to the public with visible signage in front of the building. It shall be equipped with adequate facilities and equipment to carry out its functions.

It shall also have a minimum of six staff with a Branch Head, who shall, at the minimum, be of Deputy Manager/Assistant Manager cadre, with not less than seven years experience in the pension industry, and five other staff whose functions shall cover the operational and business services, who shall also be graduates and full-time employees of the PFA, and not contract staff, PenCom said.

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Whereas a service centre shall have at least three staff, one must be a University or Polytechnic graduate with under three years’ pension industry experience.

The circular on the operations of branch offices and service centres by licensed PFAs gives effect to the provisions of Section 72 of the PRA 2014, which provides that “subject to the approval of the Commission, a Pension Fund Administrator or Pension Fund Custodian may open or close any of its branch offices anywhere within or outside Nigeria.