FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
We have put together commonly asked question to give you more insight on how we operate, our product and services. You can also get more answer by leaving us a mail via our feedback form or chatting with an on-site operator for realt-ime answers to your questions.
HOW WILL THE MONEY CONTRIBUTED BE MANAGED?The total contributions will be paid out by the employer directly to a Pension Fund Custodian and will be managed and invested by the Pension Fund Administrator (PFA) of the employee’s choice.
HOW IS THE NEW SCHEME TO BE REGULATED?The National Pension Commission is empowered by the Pension Reform Act 2004 to supervise and regulate new pension scheme.
WHAT ARE THE MAIN FUNCTIONS OF THE NATIONAL PENSION COMMISSION?The National Pension Commission issues licences to PFAs and Custodians, regulates their activities and generally formulates, directs and oversees the overall policy guidelines on pension matters in Nigeria.
WHO IS A PENSION FUND ADMINISTRATOR (PFA)?
A Pension Fund Administrator (PFA) is a company licensed by the National Pension Commission to manage and invest the pension funds in the employee’s Retirement Savings Account (RSA).
HOW DO I KNOW WHICH PFA TO CHOOSE?
The National Pension Commission will publish a list of all licensed PFAs and make it available to the public.
CAN A PFA HAVE ACCESS TO THE MONEY IN MY RSA?
The Pension Fund Administrator cannot collect or spend the pension money in the RSA.
WHO IS A CLOSED PENSION FUND ADMINISTRATOR (CPFA)?
Any employer managing its existing pension scheme before the enactment of the Pension Reform Act 2004 may apply to the National Pension Commission to be licenced as a Closed Pension Fund Administrator to continue to manage such pension scheme. A closed PFA cannot open or manage RSA for employees other than its employees or employees of its parent company if it is a subsidiary.
WHO IS QUALIFIED TO BE LICENSED AS A CLOSED PFA?
Any employer having existing pension fund assets worth N500,000,000 or more who also meets the requirements of the Pension Reform Act 2004may apply to the National Pension Commission for a closed PFA licence to enable it manage the pension funds of its employees directly or through its subsidiary.
CAN ANY EMPLOYER BE ALLOWED TO CONTINUE TO MAINTAIN ITS EXISTING SCHEME IF THE TOTAL ASSETS IN THE SCHEME IS LESS THAN N500,000,000?
Any employer with existing scheme of less that N500,000,000 can still maintain the scheme but the scheme will have to be administered by a PFA separate from the organisation.
IS IT ONLY EMPLOYEES THAT JOIN AN ORGANISATION AFTER THE COMMENCEMENT OF THE PENSION REFORM ACT THAT CAN ELECT TO OPT OUT OF A CLOSED PFA?
Every employee may decide to join the contributory pension scheme or move his RSA from a closed PFA to a PFA of his choice subject to such rules and regulations as may be issued by the National Pension Commission.
CAN A SUBSIDIARY COMPANY APPLY AS A CLOSED PFA?
A subsidiary of any company may apply for licence to operate as a Closed PFA provided it satisfies the requirements of the Pension Reform Act 2004.
CAN A NEW MULTINATIONAL COMPANY WITHOUT AN EXISTING PENSION FUND BUT WITH CAPACITY FOR FULLY FUNDED DEFINED BENEFIT PENSION SCHEME APPLY AS CLOSED PFA TO MANAGE THE PENSION OF ITS EMPLOYEES?
In accordance with the provisions of the Pension Reform Act 2004, only an employer with a pension scheme existing before the commencement of the Act can apply to be licensed as a closed PFA.
WHO IS A CUSTODIAN?
A Pension Fund Custodian (PFC) is a company licensed by the National Pension Commission to keep pension money and assets in the RSA on trust for the employee on behalf of the PFA.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A PFA AND A PFC?
The PFA manages and invests the pension funds while the PFC keeps the pension funds and assets in safe custody and carries out transactions on behalf of the PFA.
WHAT ARE THE MINIMUM FINANCIAL REQUIREMENTS FOR A PFA OR A PFC LICENCE?
An applicant PFA must have a minimum paid up share capital of N150,000,000 while an applicant PFC must have a minimum paid – up capital of N2,000,000,000 and shall be a licensed financial institution with a minimum net worth of N5,000,000,000 unimpaired by losses and has total assets of N125,000,000,000 or is wholly owned by a licensed financial institution with similar financial resources.
CAN I MOVE MY ACCOUNT FROM ONE PFA TO ANOTHER?
An employee or contributor has the freedom to move his account, once a year, from one PFA to another without giving any reason(s).
WILL THE PFA CHARGE FEES FOR THEIR SERVICES?
The PFA will charge fees for the services being rendered on the RSA subject to such guidelines as may be issued by the National Pension Commission from time to time.
WHY ESTABLISH NEW COMPANIES TO BE LICENCED AS PFAs AND PFCs?
In order to ensure the safety of pension funds and to avoid mixing pension business and other businesses, it is desirable that the operators deal with pension funds only. This will enhance effective regulation and supervision.
ARE PENSION CONTRIBUTIONS TAX FREE?
Contributions to the new pension scheme are tax free
WILL TAX BE PAID ON THE PROFIT MADE FROM TRADING WITH THE MONEY IN THE RETIREMENT SAVINGS ACCOUNT (RSA)?
Tax will be paid on the profit made from trading with the money in the Retirement Savings Account
HOW WILL I BENEFIT FROM THE NEW PENSION SCHEME?
The new pension scheme will ensure that you receive your pension after retirement without any delay.
HOW WILL THE NEW PENSION SCHEME HELP THE ECONOMY?
There will be a huge pool of long-term funds available for investments, which will lead to national economic development.
HOW CAN I KNOW WHAT IS HAPPENING WITH MY MONEY?
Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) will issue regular statements of accounts and profit from investments to the employees.
HOW CAN I BE SURE THAT MY CONTRIBUTIONS ARE SAFE?
All those managing or keeping custody of pension funds and assets will be licensed and continually regulated and supervised by the National Pension Commission.
WHAT IS THE GUARANTEE THAT THE PENSION FUNDS UNDER THE NEW SCHEME WILL BE WELL MANAGED AND NOT DIVERTED FOR OTHER PURPOSES?
The functions of the Pension Fund Administrator (PFA) and Custodian are clearly spelt out in the Pension Reform Act 2004. The Act provides adequate safeguards against the misuse of the pension funds and assets by any operator.
WHAT HAPPENS IF A PFA FAILS OR IS LIQUIDATED?
The pension funds and assets in the Retirement Savings Account (RSA) are kept by the PFC and as such the liquidation of the PFA will not affect the funds and assets. Besides, every PFA is expected under the Pension Reform Act 2004 to maintain a statutory reserve fund as contingency fund to meet claims for which it may be liable as may be determined by National Pension Commission.
WHO CAN I COMPLAIN TO IF I HAVE A PROBLEM WITH A PFA?
The Pension Reform Act 2004 allows any employee to complain about any PFA to the National Pension Commission.
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE GOVERNMENT IN THE NEW PENSION SCHEME?
The Federal Government has established the National Pension Commission and charged it with the responsibility of regulating and supervising new pension scheme.
CAN THE GOVERNMENT TAKE OR USE THE MONEY IN MY RSA FOR ANY PURPOSE?
The Government cannot tamper with the pension funds in your RSA, because the Government cannot have access to the account. Besides, the Government is primarily concerned with ensuring the safety of the money in your RSA through the enforcement of strict rules and regulations.
WILL INFLATION AND DEVALUATION OF THE NAIRA NOT ERODE THE VALUE OF THE PENSION CONTRIBUTIONS?
It is the duty of the PFAs to administer the contributions and invest in such a way that will ensure safe and reasonable returns on investment. The reserve fund created by the PFAs under the Act would compensate for any erosion of the value of the contributions.
HOW IS COMPULSORY OR VOLUNTARY RETIREMENT ESPECIALLY IN THE ARMED FORCES TO BE HANDLED UNDER THE NEW SCHEME, IF THIS HAPPENS BEFORE THE AGE OF 50 YEARS?
Under the Pension Reform Act 2004 a person can voluntarily retire or be compulsorily retired before the age of 50 years on the ground of medical advice, permanent disability or due to particular terms and conditions of employment. If any person retires under any of the foregoing circumstances, he is entitled to withdraw from his RSA even though he was under the age of 50 at such retirement; provided that, in the case of retirement due to particular terms and conditions of employment, the contributor does not secure another employment after six months from the last employment.
WHAT IS THE MINIMUM OF PENSION GUARANTEED UNDER THE NEW SCHEME?
The minimum pension guarantee shall be determined from time to time by the National Pension Commission.
IS THERE ADEQUATE REPRESENTATION OF ALL STAKEHOLDERS ON THE BOARD OF THE COMMISSION, OR IS IT DOMINATED BY GOVERNMENT APPOINTEES?
There is adequate representation of relevant stakeholders in the Board of the National Pension Commission, which comprises of representatives of the Government, Nigeria Labour Congress, the Nigerian Union of Pensioners and the Nigerian Employers’ Consultative Association.
DOES THE PENSION REFORM ACT REFLECT THE APPLICATION OF THE PRINCIPLES OF TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY?
Yes. The new pension scheme entrenches the principles of transparency and accountability as reflected in the reporting requirement of the PFAs and PFCs to both the contributor and the National Pension Commission. An employee has the right to choose who manages his RSA and the right to receive statements of his account on quarterly basis with details of contributions made and returns on investment.
WHAT IS THE RETIREMENT AGE UNDER THE PENSION REFORM ACT 2004?
The Act did not stipulate any retirement age. It depends on each employee’s terms and conditions of employment.
WHAT IS THE MINIMUM PERIOD REQUIRED BY AN EMPLOYEE TO QUALIFY FOR PENSION UNDER THE NEW SCHEME?
There is no qualifying period for pension. If an employee works for an employer for one month, his pension contribution will be paid by the employer into the employee’s Retirement Savings Account (RSA) for that month. If the employee moves on to work for another employer for another 1 year, his pension contribution will be paid by the second employer for that period of 1 year and it goes on and on like that.
WHEN WILL I HAVE ACCESS TO MONEY IN MY RSA?
Access to the RSA will only be allowed upon retirement. If an employee retires at the age of 50 years or more he/she can have immediate access to the RSA. Similarly, if an employee retires before the age of 50 years due to mental or physical incapacity, he or she can have immediate access to his/her RSA. Whereas an employee who retires under the age of 50 years in accordance with the terms and conditions of employment will not access the RSA until after six months of such retirement if he/she does not secure another employment.
WILL GRATUITY BE PAID UNDER THE NEW SCHEME?
Upon retirement, an employee can draw a lump sum (by whatever name called) from the balance standing to the credit of his/her RSA provided the balance after the withdrawal could provide an annuity or fund monthly payments that would not be less than 50% of his monthly pay as at the date of his retirement. However, an employer may choose to pay any other severance benefits (by whatever name called) over and above the retirement benefits payable to the employee subject to the terms and conditions of his employment.
SHOULD GRATUITY BE INCLUDED IN THE ACTUARIAL VALUATION FOR PURPOSES OF DETERMINING ACCRUED PENSION RIGHTS TO BE TRANSFERRED FROM THE OLD SCHEME INTO THE RSA?
If at the commencement of the Pension Reform Act 2004, the employee is entitled to gratuity (if he were to retire on that date), the gratuity shall be computed and included in the actuarial valuation as part of the accrued pension rights of such employee.
CAN I WITHDRAW ANY PORTION OF THE AMOUNT IN MY RSA BEFORE RETIREMENT?
Withdrawals from the RSA can only be made upon retirement. However, where an employee makes additional or voluntary lump sum contributions into the RSA, he can withdraw such money before retirement or attainment of the age of 50 years.
WHAT HAPPENS TO THE BALANCE IN THE RSA AFTER ANY INITIAL LUMP SUM WITHDRAWAL?
The balance in the RSA will be used to procure an annuity that provides regular income to the contributor or fund a programmed withdrawal.
WHAT IS PROGRAMMED WITHDRAWAL?
A programmed withdrawal is a method by which the employee collects his retirement benefits in periodic sums spread throughout the length of an estimated life span.
WHAT IS AN ANNUITY?
An annuity is an income purchased from an approved life insurance company which provides monthly or quarterly income to the retiree during his/her lifetime.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN AN EMPLOYEE WHO HAS BEEN CONTRIBUTING UNDER THE NEW SCHEME DIES BEFORE HIS RETIREMENT?
Where an employee who has been contributing under the new pension scheme dies before his/her retirement, his retirement benefits shall be paid to his beneficiary under a will or the spouse and children of the deceased or in the absence of a wife and child, to the recorded next-of-kin or any person designated by him during his/her life time or in the absence of such designation, to any person appointed by the Probate Registry as the administrator of the estate of the deceased.
WHAT HAPPENS TO THE RETIREMENT BENEFITS OF AN EMPLOYEE WHO IS ALREADY UNDER A PENSION SCHEME EXISTING BEFORE THE COMMENCEMENT OF THE NEW PENSION SCHEME?
Employee’s right to accrued retirement benefits for the previous years he/she has been in employment is guaranteed by the Pension Reform Act 2004. In the case of the public service of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, where pension scheme was unfunded, the right would be acknowledged through the issuance of a “Federal Government Retirement Bond” to such employee. The bond will be redeemable upon retirement of the employee.
HOW WILL THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT FUND THE REDEMPTION BONDS?
The Federal Government has established a Retirement Benefits Bond Redemption Fund Account in the Central Bank of Nigeria. The Federal Government is already making a monthly payment into the Fund of an amount equal to 5% of the total monthly wage bill payable to all employees of the Federal Government and the Federal Capital Territory.
HOW WILL THE ACCRUED BENEFITS UNDER EXISTING FUNDED DEFINED BENEFITS SCHEMES BE HANDLED?
In the case of funded pension schemes in the public service of the Federation and the private sector, employers shall undertake actuarial valuation of the employee’s accrued benefits and credit the Retirement Savings Accounts (RSAs) of its employees with such funds and in the event of any deficiency, the shortfall shall become a debt and shall be treated with same priority as salaries owed. The employer shall also issue a written acknowledgement of the debt and take steps to meet the shortfall.
Apt PFA administers retirement and terminal benefits free of charge. As such, any demand for payment by any member of staff is illegal and such should be immediately reported to the Head, Customer Service or call 08097533013 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for appropriate action. Please note that our company accept no liability for monetary demands by any staff.