By Babajide Komolafe
Banks and insuranceÂ Â companies withheld pension assets worth N39.21 billion in 2008, says National Pension Commission.
The Commission in its report for 2008 released last week said that this amount comprise legacy pension assets that should have been transferred to licensed pension operators.
The report stated, â€œThe 24 deposit money banks were inspected to determine their level of compliance with the PRA (Pension Reform Act) and PenComâ€™s guidelines.
As at the date of the examination, 43,549 out of the industryâ€™s 62,095 employees had opened the RSAs (Retirement Savings Account). Â
The sum of N22.82 billion had also been remitted to the RSAs while the sum of N1.9 billion was outstanding.Â
The examination also reveals that legacy pension assets worth N84.05 billion were yet to be transferred to licensed pension operators. PenCom had taken steps to ensure that banks complied with the PRA 2004.
As at December 2008, out of the 18,546 employees that were yet to open RSAs, 8,350 had opened and the sum of 3.77 billion remitted to their PFAs (Pension Fund Administrators).
Thus, only 10,195 out of the 62,095 employees in the banking sector were yet to open RSAs. Also out of the N84.05 billion worth legacy pension assets, N63.34 billion were transferred to the licensed pension operators by the end of 2008.
The on-site inspection of 40 insurance companies revealed that out of 5,854 employees, 4,442 employees had opened RSAs while 1,390 were yet to open. The sum of N1.33 billion was remitted to their RSAs while N211.59 million hade not been remitted.
The insurance companies had in-house legacy pension assets worth N689.09 million that were yet to be transferred to the licensed pension operators.
This isÂ in addition to third -party pension assets worth N9.12 billion that were under their management as well as N8.69 billion belonging to public sector organisations under the Unified Pension Scheme. However effort was maintained to ensure the transfer of these pension assets to licensed pension operators.
On-site inspection was also conducted on ten federal government self-funding agencies. The inspection revealed that out of the agenciesâ€™ 14,118 employees, 12,525 had opened RSAs.
The sum of N4.04 billion had also been remitted to the employeesâ€™ RSAs while N2.23 billion was outstanding. Similarly, legacy assets worth N22.31 billion were yet to be transferred to licensed pension operators. The respective agencies were engaged to ensure the transfer of the assets before 2nd quarter of 2009.â€