First hand experience with pensioners and views gathered by the Implementation Committee from various groups affirm the poor state of pensions. It may also be of interest to note that the recent world-wide financial crises and pockets of others preceding it, have eroded confidence in most parts of the world.
As the new multi-tier pension scheme takes off, one thing that would stand in its way is public confidence. Wrecked confidence has emanated from inefficiencies in record management, processing of contributions, processing and payment of benefit especially in the initial stages of retirement. The present state should only show players the enormous nature of the task, and how large the room for improvement is.
What is required is to build public confidence that the new system would improve pensions. Improvement would be expected in the level of benefits and services. Payment of benefits under the new system is quite a while away from now, but the initial services of data management, processing contribution and availability of scheme information would be keenly watched by all. Building public confidence is like building a product/service brand. It needs time and consistency.
The players in the pensions industry are the ones to build this ‘brand’ of pensions. Two most crucial players are the National Pensions Regulatory Body (NPRA) and the Private Providers. The discipline instilled in the industry by the regulators is of great importance and critical for its success. Of course in the early stages there would be a lot of challenges and room has to be made for them.
Financial services and trends in capital markets are driven by intangible sentiments and this would not be any different. The time of life when these benefits are needed makes pension very sensitive.
By: Yaw Antwi, A Risk Manager and Certified Financial Planner (UK), specialized in Pension Administration.
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