The National Pension Commission (PenCom), in collaboration with Pension Operators (PenOp) and other key stakeholders, is in the early stages of planning the establishment of a Pension Academy. This initiative is part of their ongoing efforts to enhance capacity building within the Pension Industry and is expected to be operational by 2024.
Abdulkadir Dahiru, Head of Corporate Communication at PenCom, revealed this development during a recent event in Lagos. He emphasized the significance of this initiative, stating, “PenCom plans for the establishment of a Pension Academy for continuous human capacity building and development in the industry. PenCom is working with PenOp to establish a Pension Academy to deal with issues of capacity in the pensions industry. There is a committee working on it, and the committee is seriously working on it and has drawn up the curriculum.”
Dahiru further explained the regulatory authority of PenCom in the Pension Industry, stating that Section 24 of the Pension Reform Act (PRA) of 2014 empowers the Commission to formulate policies, standards, rules, and regulations for the management of pension funds. It also grants the Commission the authority to investigate pension fund administrators, custodians, and other parties involved in pension fund management.
Additionally, PenCom is authorized to charge fees, levies, or penalties as specified by the Commission. The section also allows PenCom to oversee the overall policy on pension matters in Nigeria and to collect information from relevant entities on retirement benefit matters.
Dahiru highlighted some of the challenges faced by the pension industry, including the evolving service culture, inadequate call centers, limited spread of Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) branches and service centers, incomplete customer information, high staff attrition rates, and a lack of public enlightenment programs.
In response to these challenges, PenCom has taken various measures to improve the industry, such as increasing the minimum regulatory capital of PFAs, introducing the Retirement Saving Accounts (RSA) Transfer Window, and creating the Consumer Protection Department to address service issues and promote excellence.
The establishment of the Pension Academy is seen as a significant step toward further enhancing the capacity and professionalism of individuals within the Pension Industry, ultimately benefiting retirees and ensuring the long-term sustainability of pension schemes in Nigeria.