…Explains why retirees look forward to its forum
ONE of the things that have continued to distinguish Trustfund Pensions from other Pension Fund Administrators, PFAs, is its forum for Pensioners, other Retirement Savings Account, RSA, holders, among others, including employers, on regular basis, to keep them abreast with happenings in the industry and get feedback from RSA holders especially pensioners on challenges, its services and so on.
At a forum in Lagos, its Lagos Regional Manager, Mr. Obiora Ozoekwem, in a chat with Pension and You, speaks on why its forum excites RSA holders among others.
“For us, it is more or less like a ritual because when certain customers retire, reaching them is not as easy as reaching the active ones that are still working. If I want to meet an active customer, I walk into his or her office. I can sit down with them and discuss and go home. But the retirees, you find out that most times when they retire, they leave the area where they worked and move to their permanent homes.
So, this retiree forum gives us an opportunity to call them out wherever they are. If you worked in Lagos, and you left Lagos for the South-East or the North, this forum holds in all those locations. All we need to do is to inform you so that you can attend the one in that area. So, the first thing it does for us is that it keeps that channel open between the retirees and us.
“A woman came to me and said oh, her bond has not come from the Federal Government and she has some family issues, she needs help. Because of the health issue she has complained about, we are looking into how we can go a step further to actually help her cause. This is one of the benefits this kind of gathering brings to retirees.
We also educate them on the issue of programmed withdrawal or annuity. The retirees are being fed with a lot of wrong information about programmed withdrawal especially from our colleagues in the insurance industry. They tell the retirees that their money would finish in two years, in three years and so, so, so years and they will stop paying your pension.
This is not true. When we have this kind of gathering, we make time to educate retirees the difference between programmed withdrawal and annuity. It is now left for the retirees to choose which option they want. Those are some of the advantages this kind of forum brings to us.
“We hear retirees demanding for increased monthly pension all the time. As you know, the new minimum wage is still running its course, we are still looking forward to full implementation. As at now, what we have in place in the pension sector, is the minimum pension guarantee.
Now the National Pension Commission has even issued a circular where it has told every PFA that if for any reason a retiree runs out of fund in its RSA, the PFA should continue the payment of the person’s monthly pension until the minimum Pension guarantee is fully in place. So, the issue of minimum wage for now has not been related to the retirees in the pension industry. However, certain development has come about where if for any reason, either by error or omission, an RSA runs out, PFA should continue the payment of the retiree’s monthly pension until the commission is able to put the minimum guarantee pension in place and implemented.
“You are aware that the fund is designed in a way that the PFA should invest that fund, and every proceed from that investment is ploughed back to the customer’s RSA. The PFA is only allowed to charge N50.00 every month on that account.
Now, for some reasons, may be someone was overpaid, or the emoluments overpaid or the bonds were not calculated properly, or things like that, especially for federal civil servants. PenCom requests us to do a refund. To do that refund, we are supposed to calculate the pension based on what is left. There have been errors in the past, or certain omissions where certain RSA run out.
“Now what the commission has said is, if for any reason, that happens, the PFA should go ahead and continue to sustain the pension payment of such retiree till the minimum pension guarantee is put in place.
“The minimum pension guarantee is supposed to guarantee every retiree a “minimum pension” that the retiree will earn till the end of his of her life. That is pooled from certain percentage from profit made from PFA and the commission. It is supposed to be a central pool that takes care of all these omissions or miscalculation if there are any.