By Sola Alabadan
The National Pension Commission (PenCom) has approved the acquisition of Investment One Pension Managers Limited by Guaranty Trust Holding Company Limited (GTCO).
The commission also approved the subsequent change of name from Investment One Pension Managers Limited to Guaranty Trust Pension Managers Limited.
PenCom announced this on its official Twitter page on Wednesday.
It would be recalled that Guaranty Trust Holding Company plc (GTCO) completed the acquisition of 100 percent shareholding in two subsidiaries of Investment One in 2021.
The subsidiaries are Pension Managers and Investment One Funds Management.
Investment One Financial Services Limited was incorporated in 2008 as GTB Asset Management, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Guaranty Trust Bank Plc.
Similarly, the pension regulator also approved the acquisition of AIICO Pension Managers Limited by FCMB Pensions Limited.
In 2021, FCMB Group had acquired a 60 percent stake in AIICO Pensions Managers.
PenCom further informed that the merger between Tangerine Pensions Limited and APT Pension Funds Managers Limited has been approved.
According to the tweet, Pencom also approved the subsequent change of name of the merged entity to Tangerine APT Pensions Limited.
PenCom said, “This is to inform all stakeholders and the general public that the National Pension Commission (PenCom) has approved the following Mergers and Acquisitions:
“The Acquisition of Investment One Pension Managers Limited by Guaranty Trust Holding Company Limited and subsequent change of name from Investment One Pension Managers Limited to Guaranty Trust Pension Managers Limited.
“The Acquisition of AIICO Pension Managers Limited by FCMB Pensions Limited; and the Merger between Tangerine Pensions Limited and APT Pension Funds Managers Limited and subsequent change of name of the merged entity to Tangerine APT Pensions Limited.”
Experts Canvass For Laws To Ensure Survival Of Insurance, Pension Sectors
The Managing Director of APT Securities and Funds Limited, Kasim Garba Kurfi, has charged the government to put in place enabling policies and laws that support the survival of the sectors for them to continue contributing to the nation’s growth.
He described the insurance and pension sectors as the engine of growth of Nigerian economy considering the roles played by the two sectors in sustaining economic growth.
Kurfi, who stated this while delivering the theme paper at the 8th Annual Conference of the Nigerian Association of Insurance and Pension Editors (NAIPE) in Lagos recently, said insurance and pension sectors today stand as engines for sustainable economic growth and forces to reckon with in every economy. The conference’s theme was “Role of Insurance and Pension Sectors In Building Sustainable Economic Growth Under The New Government”.
He highlighted the contributions of the two sectors to the national economy saying, “There is over N2.5 trillion assets managed by the insurance institution in Nigeria as of 31st December 2022.
“While there is over N16.6 trillion assets managed by the Pension Fund Administration as at 31st December 2022, the combination of the two institutions has a total asset of over N19 trillion. The role played by the two institutions in sustaining our economic growth left no one in doubt that they are instruments for most of the economic development
“Over N726 billion in premiums paid in the year 2022 according to the National Insurance Commission, while the industry also paid over N318.1 billion in claims to its customers within the same period. This is a remarkable achievement in comparison with 3.5% growth of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).”
He said insurance institutions give security to the future of the common people and aid economic growth upon happenings or allowance of specific event or disaster.
“Insurance represent promise of the future compensation in case of specific losses or in exchange for periodic payment called premium.
“Managing risk is very important for companies dealing with money or equivalent. The insurance industry promotes National development through wealth creation or protection. It primarily hedges against risk or contingent or uncertain loss.”
On pension, he said, “The contribution of pension funds that run over N16 trillion is pronounced in all phases of life. Many sectors of the economy benefit from excess funds that look for alternative ways to invest such as FGN SUKUK, GREEN BOND, and Infrastructures Bond, among many others.”
Kurfi said Pension ensures that every worker receives his/her retirement benefit as at when due. Ensure workers save in order to cater for future liability and old age. Provide long-term finance for the real sector. Stimulate the development of the capital market.
While condemning those agencies and institutions clamouring to exit Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS), Kurfi enjoined the government at all levels to discourage such moves for the interest of the Pensioners and the nation’s economy.
He said the contribution of insurance and pension sectors towards economic development is imminent and can be seen especially in driving the nation’s financial inclusion project.
Stakeholders Charge Government To Improve On Welfare Of Workers, Retirees
The federal government has been charged to give due consideration to improving on the welfare of pensioners and workers as the new administration is striving to address observed challenges in the nation’s economy.
Nigerian Union of Pensioners Contributory Pension Scheme (NUPCPS) gave this advice at the 8th Annual National Conference of the Nigerian Association of Insurance and Pension Editors (NAIPE) in Lagos.
The conference’s theme was: “Role of Insurance and Pension In Building Sustainable Economic Growth Under The New Government.”
The secretary of NUPCPS, Bisan Olufemi John, said the pension arrangement by the government was still far from being favourable to retirees.
He stated that there was no way the government can successfully tackle the economy without adequately satisfying the yearnings of both pensioners and those currently in service.
According to him, “the Federal Government has been struggling with getting the economy to work, but one thing that is clear is that the people are the ones that will contribute mainly to make such a reality.
“The government must first think of the workers, improve their welfare so they can then contribute their quota adequately to the economy. It should be the people before the economy.
“Government should think of how to build the operators of the economy and also improve the life of pensioners.”
While recalling the failure of government to pay Group Life Insurance claims to next of kin of deceased civil servants, he also lamented the perceived conflicts in annuity for pensioner under failed insurance companies.
He further called on the government to provide better opportunities for pensioners to be happy, saying that retirees’ welfarism should not just end at the level of being paid their stipends.
Speaking in the same vein, another retiree, also a member of NUPCPS, Comrade Olagbayo Johnson. O., said it was unfortunate that the current Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) appeared to be failing.
Giving a background to the reason behind the scheme, he said it was the failure of the Defined Benefit Scheme, which is government funded, that compelled the Federal Government to visit Chile to do a check on how the contributory scheme worked.
He, however, lamented that since Nigeria started the scheme in 2004, it had shown little or no difference from the old scheme apart from the fact that employees and employers now contribute towards the pool of funds.
He pointed out that it was the more reason some individuals and institutions were agitating to pull out of the scheme.
According to him, “imagine, National Assembly workers, those are the people who made the law, they are agitating to pull out of the scheme. The military has long left and even the police are on the verge of pulling out.
“Why is this one different from that of Chile? Their own that we copied from is still working.”
On her part, the Chairman, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Lagos Chapter, Funmi Sessi, lamented that Nigerian pensioners were still far from having the deserved rest, adding that there was need for them to earn their benefits, rest and enjoy the fruit of their labour.
She condemned the poor approach by Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) to paying benefits to pensioners.
She also specifically condemned the difficult process in accessing benefits by relatives of deceased worker, stressing that the request for a letter of administration and other documents should be made easier.
Also speaking as one of the participants at the event, the Local Chapter Chairman, Nigeria Association for the Blind, Ifako Ijaiye Chapter, Anuoluwa Yinka Isaac, said it was disturbing that Nigerian pension and insurance system does not have special products for the physically challenged in the society.
He observed that those in that category were left out in so many arrangements in the country, stressing that on so many occasions they would have to work out arrangements to live in the society that is almost hostile and unresponsive to the plight.
Experts Counsel Insurance, Pension Operators On How To Grow Businesses
Experts in the nation’s financial services sector have advised the Insurance and Pension operators to adopt a more creative and innovative ways in their business approach, product development and service delivery to grow the sectors.
They spoke at the 8th annual national conference of the Nigerian Association of Insurance and Pension Editors (NAIPE), with the theme: “Role of Insurance and Pension In Building Sustainable Economic Growth Under The New Government,” held in Lagos on Thursday.
The experts emphasised the need for operators to embrace continued manpower development and technology adoption, which is a panacea for driving growth in modern-day businesses.
They also urged government at all levels to provide an enabling environment, supported by relevant regulation that is business-friendly and growth-driven.
In his contribution at a panel session, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Scib Insurance Brokers, Mr. Shola Tinubu harped on the need for government to adopt creative policies and regulations that are business-friendly and growth-driven for the insurance and Pension sectors.
Tinubu advised the regulators to give operators a free hand to choose their own ways of raising capital.
He said “On the insurance side, capital had been driven by statutory requirements.
“We are talking about the regulator mandating the players to get certain quantum of capital without creating ground for that capital.
“Meaning that companies have to strive for capital just to stay in business and what has happened in the various rounds that we had was that there was no creative idea for channeling the capital.
According to him, if any company decides on its own to go to the capital market to raise capital, such a company will channel the capital effectively for the growth of the business.
Tinubu noted that the industry need a situation where operators will initiate capital level and use it to follow up investment ideas.
The managing director of Scib stated that there is a need for investment managers who can digest investment ideas and see the kind of things they need.
He explained that operators do not need capital for the sake of raising it, but for investment opportunities that will yield higher returns.
In his view, the Managing Director, ARM Pension, Mr. Wale Odutola, represented by Mrs. Abimbola Suleiman, ED, Investment, ARM Pension, said every household has a need for basic insurance and a basic pension plan.
Odutola noted that insurance and pension have gone a long way in improving the lives of people.
He explained that government alone cannot engender sustainable economic growth, as such, insurance and pension should be encouraged among the rural dwellers to better their lots.
“When insurance handles the risks for businesses and the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) takes care of Pension liabilities from the balance sheet of the companies, this will go a long way to ensure productivity and growth in the nation’s finance sector.
“There are currently nine million people in the CPS net and this is abysmally low when compared to the nation’s population.
“Hence, there is need to get all state governments involved and the participation of the informal sector in CPS,” he said.
According to Odutola, deepening the scope of participation requires innovations and creativity from operators in both the insurance and pension sectors.
Ms. Prisca Soares, former Secretary General of the African Insurance Organisation (AIO) said that, lack of skilled manpower, especially the dearth of Actuaries, is presently challenging the insurance industry.
Soares said that the industry need to take a deliberate attempt to develop its manpower and solve this major challenge, with regard to financial reporting.
She explained that investment in technology needed for actuaries, had been a challenge over the years, but has now become more critical.
“When you do risk base capital you need actuaries to get it right. The insurance industry needs conscious efforts to address this because it is critical to their business,” she said.
Also, Mr. Oguche Aguda, Chief Executive Officer of the Pension Operator Association of Nigeria (PenOp), represented by Mr. Akinbola Akintola,Head of Research Department at PenOp, said, the insurance and pension sectors are facing the same challenge of public confidence.
Oguche charged operators in both sectors to work on their images, adding that if there is no confidence, there is no growth and without growth of the two sectors, the country’s economy cannot grow.
The Group Managing Director, Consolidated Hallmark Insurance (CHI), Mr. Eddie Efekoha represented by Tunde Daramola, ED, Finance at CHI, harped on the need to enforce compulsory insurances and pension, as the era of non-payment of claims have gone.
Efekoha urged operators in both industries to be honest with their businesses, gain the trust of consumers and also bridge their expectation gaps.