Since the inception of the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) in 2004, every Retirement Savings Account (RSA) holder has been stuck with only one Pension Fund Administrators (PFA). Understandably, a person is only allowed to open a single RSA in a lifetime. However, a person is not meant to remain with a particular PFA for a lifetime. This is because, in a situation where the PFA’s performance is below expectations both in terms of Fund performance or other important criteria like customer service, etc, such an RSA holder should be able to move his or her account to another PFA of choice. This is, among others, what the transfer window is meant to achieve.
In a recent publication by the National Pension Commission (PenCom), it has disclosed that all plans are finally in place to commence the operations of the RSA transfer window exercise by the end of the year 2020.
Here are the things you need to know about the RSA Transfer Window exercise and how it affects you as a RSA holder.
What is the Transfer Window?
The transfer window is an avenue that is created for RSA holders to move their pension account from one PFA to another within an acceptable stipulated period within the year.
This helps a disgruntled or unsatisfied RSA holder to have a say in deciding who continues to manage his or her pension account. For example, if Mrs A is not satisfied with the performance of her PFA, she can move her RSA to another PFA of choice.
The National Pension Commission (PenCom) has been drawing up modalities on how the transfer window regime would operate without causing friction in the pension industry since 2012 when it issued regulations on transfer of RSAs. After much efforts, it has therefore, chosen the end of 2020 to open the window eventually after many years.
This news comes as big relief to RSA holders. The implication of this is huge both for PFAs and RSA holders.
PFAs should therefore make customer satisfaction a big priority now. A little misbehaviour by a careless staff could make them loose customers easily and this is very bad for the PFA business. PFAs should also be meticulous in the investment decisions they take on behalf of pension funds because RSA holders would be very sensitive, now more than ever, to any poor performance by any PFA and would be willing to move away swiftly to another PFA all thanks to the transfer window.
On the bright side, the transfer window will help the exceptionally performing PFAs to gain more customers as this will be the reward for their stellar performance over the years.
In all we are optimistic that the pension industry would benefit immensely from it.
Highlights of how the Transfer Window will operate
• An RSA holder who is willing to move to another PFA is allowed to do so without giving any reason for his movement.
• To move from one PFA to the other, the eligible RSA holder notifies the Receiving PFA of his intention to move his RSA to them.
• The Receiving PFA is obliged to forward such request to the Commission for approval. This is done through the RSA Transfer Clearing System (RTCS).
• PenCom approves any such movement before it is effected.
• The first movement from one PFA to another is FREE.
• Movement is allowed once in a 12 month calendar year.
• Movements would only effected at the end of every quarter which are 31 March, 30 June, 30 September and 31 December. These are also known as the effective transfer dates (ETDs).
PensionTalk will update you more on the Transfer Window as events unfold in the Nigerian pension industry.
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