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PAL Pensions Holds Retirees Forum, Sensitizes On Industry Reforms

PAL Pensions Holds Retirees Forum, Sensitizes On Industry Reforms

By Christian George

Pensions Alliance Limited, popularly known as PAL Pensions, yesterday, held a retirees forum to sensitize its retiree customers on industry reforms as well as keep close relationship with them despite the fact that they are no longer in active service.

Speaking at the forum in Port Harcourt, the Acting Regional Manager of PAL Pensions covering South-South, Mrs. Millicent Hogan, thanked the participants who left their various engagements to honour their invitation, assuring that PAL Pension organized the forum not only to keep retirees abreast of the updates in the industry but to keep a close relationship with their retiree customers.

With over 75,000 retiree customers since inception, PAL Pensions has been noted for good customer relationship as well as prompt processing of retiree pensions including lump sum. Only in the year 2022, it has been on record that Pensions Alliance Limited has paid not less than 15,000 clients worth over N13 billion and the total amount paid since inception is over N111 billion, stressing that its robust system has afforded its customers easy access to their account via mobile applications as well as chatbots.

Also speaking at the event, Mr. Emmanuel Chiboka explained that PAL Pensions is regulated by National Pensions Commission (PENCOM) and retiree funds are also invested in accordance with PENCOM stipulated guidelines. Aside from slashing its administrative fees with the view to giving more to its customers, he maintained that PAL Pensions has dedicated account officers assigned to all its customers.

While on the industry updates, Mr. Chiboka explained that the multi-fund framework is aimed at aligning the age and risk profile of retirement savings account (RSA) holders by dividing the RSA fund into three fund types while retaining the single retiree fund, adding that flexibility of the structure enables customers to switch depending on their risk appetite and age limits.

On the area of transfer windows, he said that PENCOM has made it possible for account holders to switch from one pension fund administrator (PFA) to another and would still maintain the same number, which served as an open window for account holders from other PFAs to join in their pool and enjoy its high returns on investment.

In addition, Mr. Chiboka explained the benefits of programmed withdrawal over the annuity, stressing that pension fund administrators offer programmed withdrawal to their customers because retirees can not only negotiate their payment package of choice but would enjoy lump sum payments, review monthly pensions, monitor retirement savings account balances, as well as transfer pension balances to beneficiaries in the case of the demise of the customer, adding that why programmed withdrawal is irresistible to retiree customers is that it “operates for as long as the RSA balance can accommodate even when the balance in the account is depleted;  funds are placed with the custodian and are inaccessible to pension fund administrator and custodians invest only with the instructions from their PFA’s”.

He reiterated that PAL Pensions coverage includes full access payment comprising of programmed withdrawal, embloc, medical grounds, etc.;  temporary access of 25% lump sum, additional voluntary contribution (AVC), death benefits, legacy funds as well as NSITF; State refunds, gratuity payments and micro pensions to incorporate those in the informal sectors.

While fielding questions from the audience, he assured them that the transparency of their funds as customers can monitor their retirement savings account balances through multiple channels of engagement, adding that retirees can decide if their pensions should be paid monthly or quarterly basis.

The event which had retirees fill the hall to its capacity also had health professionals engage them on the need for proper and constant checkups so as to be in good health and enjoy their pensions as many are always of the opinion that they are healthy without knowing that their body system is fighting an underlying sickness which could be curbed at early detection.

Representing Hygeia Health Management Organization at the event, Dr. (Mrs.) Odum Chimdimma Obinna stressed that at retirement age, health should be properly taken care of, as old age comes with a lot of diseases and early detection could help health professionals to manage such situations.

While narrating his experience as a retiree, Mr. Udeme Ekong testified that he had gotten this lump sum payment after retirement and is constantly receiving his monthly pension. He added that his funds keep growing from accumulated interest and his pension fund administrator is always swift at his call, recounting that he was even invited by PENCOM for reviews. Others praised PAL Pensions for keeping close contact with their customers, especially retirees and that similar forum should be organized more frequently.

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