Meeting the compilation March 2013 deadline for the Pension Prudential Rule 10 (PPR10) would empower Trustees to efficiently administer pension schemes and other retirement benefits in compliance with the code of conduct, says Lemogelang Ebineng, Glenrand M. I. B. (GMIB) General Manager Employee Benefits.
Ebineng said that, based on rules and regulations of the governing body, Non-Bank Financial Institutions Regulatory Authority (NFBIRA) Trustees hold the responsibility for the administration of the funded occupational pension schemes and compliance with the requirements that apply to the schemes.
“The Company would be working round the clock with Trustees to meet the 12-month deadline from March 2012 to February 2013, a date set for the implementation of requirements stipulated in PPR10,” she said when addressing Trustees drawn from the entire spectrum serving in both quasi-government and private sectors who were attending a training workshop in Gaborone last week. “We will be coordinating scheme specific training workshops for all pension funds under our administration. However, the implementation process would be accomplished without ‘digging deep’ into members’ coffers. Contrary to public sentiment, this would be an investment as the long term benefits would outweigh the costs incurred.”
Ebineng said that GMIB’s focus would be to ensure Trustees are well equipped with the wherewithal to execute their responsibilities. Becoming a Trustee calls for due care and diligence, integrity, honesty, to name a few attributes. Given sufficient time, members should receive updates about their funds as standard practice.
Ebineng’s remarks show that GMIB has to hit the ground running, given the mushrooming of other occupational benefit schemes such as pension annuities or funeral policies, endowed with death and financial perks during times of bereavement. According to MoneyMatters Managing Director Edna Dambe, despite laid down rules set down at the time of NBFIRA’s inception, the Trustees market has experienced transformations as a result of drastic falls in life expectancy to around 40 years, with females outliving male counterparts by a significant margin.
“As outlined in the NBFIRA conduct expected by the Board of Trustees, a defined contribution fund must provide its members as part of their annual benefit statements, with an illustration of the likely value of their pensions on retirement in current monetary terms. This will be achieved through projecting benefits assuming only a rate of investment return in excess of inflation.”
Dambe said at times lack of information by the Board of Trustees would lead to payment of terminal benefits to the undeserving party. For example, there was a case where death benefits were paid to the spouse who submitted a copy of the marriage certificate, when the incumbent was divorced to the deceased. The Board members paid from their pockets for the error when the stipulated party submitted a second claim.
NBFIRA was established in 2006 and monitors the operations of non-bank financial institutions, issuing guidelines and codes of practice on the responsibilities of trustees of schemes and service providers in relation to retirement fund products, provide appropriate training and advise the relevant minister on all matters in relation to the pensions and provident funds Act.