PROVISIONAL REGISTRATION OF
PROVIDENT FUNDS AND GROUP PERSONAL PENSION SCHEMES
1.1 Section 129 of the National Pensions Act, 2008(Act 766) provides for the application for registration of provident fund schemes as employer sponsored schemes or master trust schemes.
1.2. Section 135 of Act 766 provides for the application for registration as personal pension schemes.
1.3. Section 208 of the Act provides that the National Pensions Regulatory Authority (â€śthe Authorityâ€ť) may issue Guidelines for the guidance of approved trustees, service providers and to all institutions and persons concerned with this Act.
1.4 The Authority hereby issues these Guidelines on transitional matters relating to the application for provisional registration of provident funds as employer sponsored schemes and informal sector schemes as group personal pension schemes under the Actâ€™.
1.5 The Guidelines will be revised from time to time by the Authority.
2.0 IMPLEMENTATION/ EFFECTIVE DATE
2.1 Effective 1st May, 2010 persons in the formal or informal sectors may apply for provisional registration of Provident Fund Schemes and Group Personal Pension Schemes.
2.2 For Tax purposes, voluntary contributions made from 1st January, 2010 to a Provident Fund or Group Personal scheme registered by the Authority under the Act, will qualify for all tax reliefs provided under section 112 of the Act.
3.1 The Transitional Guidelines shall apply to persons in the formal sector or informal sector who want to make voluntary contributions to a provident fund scheme or group personal pension scheme as defined under section 106 and in accordance with sections 3(8) and 3(9) of the Act.
4.0 REQUIREMENT FOR PROVISIONAL REGISTRATION
4.1 Application for provisional registration of provident funds and group personal pension schemes can only be made by trustees who have obtained provisional licence in accordance with guidelines issued by the Authority.
Guidelines on application for provisional licence as approved trustee have been published separately by the Authority under NPRA/T.GUID/PL.T1/03/10
4.2 Application Procedure
When making an application to the Authority for provisional registration of a provident scheme as employer sponsored scheme or an informal sector scheme as group personal pension scheme, the applicant must:
4.2.1. satisfy all requirements prescribed by Act 766, other relevant laws or
any such additional requirements or conditions prescribed under these guidelines.
4.2.2 make the application in the prescribed format set out at Annexures A to C.
(a) Annex A refers to Form: NPRA/APP/PR.S/01/10 of the application which covers the information relating to the scheme to which the application relates (â€śthe Schemeâ€ť);
(b) Annex B1 refers to Form: NPRA/APP/PR.E/01/10 of the application which
is only applicable if the application is for an employer sponsored scheme. It covers the information relating to the employer sponsoring the Scheme (â€śthe Employerâ€ť) and the employers who are associated companies of the Employer and who will participate in the Scheme.
(c) Annex B2 refers to Form: NPRA/APP/PR.G/01/10 of the application which
is only applicable if the application is for a group personal pension. It covers the information relating to the Parent Association sponsoring the Scheme (â€śthe Parent associationâ€ť) and the associations who are members of the Parent association and who will participate in the Scheme.
(d) Annex C refers to Form NPRA/APPR/PR.T/01/10 of the application which covers the information relating to the trustee of the Scheme. If the Scheme has more than one trustee, each trustee has to fill in NPRA/APPR/PR.T/01/10 separately;
4.2.3 submit the documents as prescribed in the forms in Annexures A to C, where applicable; and
4.2.4 pay the application fee specified in Schedule 1.
5.0 EXISTING PROVIDENT FUND AND OTHER PRIVATE PENSION SCHEMES
5.1 Notwithstanding any other provisions in the Act, any provident fund or private pension scheme existing before the implementation date and satisfying section 106 of the Act may continue to exist: Provided that:
5.1.1 the pension scheme shall be fully funded and contribution in favour of each employee together with the attributable income shall be computed and credited to individual accounts in the registered scheme;
5.1.2 the pension funds and assets shall be fully segregated from the funds and assets of the employer;
5.1.3 the pension funds and assets shall be transferred to a pension fund custodian registered under section 157 of the Act within the time to be specified by the Authority.
5.1.4 every employee in the existing scheme shall be free to exercise the option of coming under the Scheme established under section 1(c) of the Act and his employer shall compute and credit to his account the contributions and distributable income earned as at the date the employee exercises such an option subject to further rules and guidelines issued by the Authority;
5.1.5 all investments in assets other than those specified as permissible investments for pension funds and assets under Section 176 of the Act may be maintained and from the implementation date all investments shall be subject to the requirements and standards for registered schemes established by the Authority;
5.1.6 every defined benefit scheme existing before the implementation date shall cause in respect of scheme fund an actuarial valuation to determine accrued benefits of every employee in the existing scheme.
5.1.7 for employees in existing defined benefit scheme who exercise the option of coming under the Scheme established under section 1(c) of the Act, his employer shall credit to his account the accrued benefit determined under section 5.1.6 above as the opening balance in order to satisfy section 106 of the Act.
6.0 Undertaking to comply with requirements and standards
6.1 An applicant must give an undertaking to the Authority, that the applicant will ensure that, as far as reasonably practicable, the Requirements and Standards no. NPRA/STND/PRS.VS/01/10 prescribed by the Authority will be complied with in relation to the provident fund scheme or group personal pension scheme concerned if it is registered.
7.0 Definitions of Terms
7.1 In these guidelines unless the context otherwise requires,
â€śemployer sponsored schemeâ€ť means a single employer scheme whose membership is limited to the employees of the sponsoring company and only its associated companies;
â€śgroup personal pension schemeâ€ť means an arrangement made for members of a particular informal sector group to participate in a personal pension scheme on a grouped basis not a separate scheme; merely a collecting arrangement;
â€śmaster trust schemeâ€ť is a multiple-employer scheme whose membership is open to employees of more than one employer, self-employed persons and persons with accrued benefits transferred from other schemes;
7.2. Except where otherwise specified in the forms in Annexures A to C, all other terms common to the forms in the Annexures, have the same meanings as defined in the Act. The applicant should make appropriate reference to the Act where necessary.
8.0 The Applicant
8.1 The applicant making an application for registration of the provident fund or group personal pension scheme must be the approved trustee, or a trustee who has applied for provisional licence as an approved trustee in accordance with these guidelines. If the application is made by two (2) or more trustees, then the applicant refers to those trustees jointly.
9.0 Signing Requirements
9.1. The application for registration of the Scheme must be signed, if the applicant consists wholly of individual persons, by at least 3 of those persons at least one of who shall be an independent trustee and the others must be members of the scheme.
10.1 If there is any change to the application information or documents after an application is submitted to the Authority, the applicant should inform the Authority as soon as reasonably practicable. It is an offence under section 199 of the Act if a person, in any document given to the Authority, makes a statement that he knows to be false or misleading in a material respect, or recklessly makes a statement which is false or misleading in a material respect.
11.0 Submission of Application
11.1 Completed application forms and the relevant application documents for registration of a provident fund scheme or group personal pension scheme should be submitted in hard copies and sent, together with the application fees, to:
National Pensions Regulatory Authority
Office of Head of Civil Service Building, PMB Ministries, Accra,
Tel: 021-688089, 021-688169
Dated the 30th day of April, 2010