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Operators cut pension investment in real estate by N30bn

Despite a steady increase recorded in the total assets under the Contributory Pension Scheme, the Pension Fund Administrators reduced investment of the funds in real estate by N30.99bn between December 2016 and December 2017.

Statistics obtained from the National Pension Commission revealed that the total amount invested in real estate fell from N234.34bn at the end of 2016 to N203.35bn in 2017, despite recording a rise in pension assets from N6.15tn in 2016 to N7.5tn at the end of 2017.

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According to the commission, as of the end of 2017, N5.29tn, which is about 70.4 per cent of the funds, was invested in the Federal Government of Nigeria’s bonds, which include treasury bills, agency bonds, sukuk bonds and green bonds.

Eight per cent of the money, totalling N672.2bn, was also invested in domestic ordinary shares.

The figures showed that N152.2bn amounting about two per cent of the funds was invested in state government securities.

Last year, the commission reviewed the regulations of investment of pension funds. And in the reviewed regulations, PenCom stated that the PFAs must offer a multi-fund structure for the Retirement Savings Account and that there would be a transition period of six months, effective from the commencement date of the multi-fund structure for all the PFAs to restructure their respective portfolios.

It stated, “The multi-fund structure shall comprise Fund I, Fund II, Fund III, and Fund IV (retiree fund). Funds I, II, III, and IV shall however differ, according to their overall exposure to variable income instruments.”

PenCom also said it would raise the pensions of retirees opting for programmed withdrawal and were being paid by the Pension Fund Administrators this month.

The Acting Director-General, National Pension Commission, Aisha Dahir-Umar, said this when the commission submitted a memorandum to the Senate Committee on Establishment and Public Service at the public hearing on a bill for an Act to amend the Pension Reform Act, 2014, to provide for definite percentage a retiree could withdraw from the RSA and for other related matters.

She, however, stated that some retirees would not be entitled to the increase due to low balances in their RSAs.

Dahir-Umar said, “Indeed, the commission has just concluded an exercise to increase the monthly pension of all retirees on programmed withdrawal due to the income earned on investing their pension assets.

“The outcome of this exercise showed that 30 per cent of the retirees would not benefit from the increase due to insignificant income earned on the small balances in their respective RSAs.”

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