In readiness for the commencement of the much-awaited transfer window, which enables Retirement Savings Account (RSA) holders to move their accounts from one Pension Fund Administrator (PFA) to another PFA as they desire, the National Pension Commission (PenCom) has mandated all PFAs to ensure that all RSA clients’ profiles are compliant with Automated Finger Identification System (AFIS) standards.
The biometrics capturing project is aimed at ensuring the integrity of data by eliminating multiple registrations, which has been a serious challenge to the pension industry, and which needed to be addressed forthwith.
PenCom had carried out a verification exercise on the RSA clients’ National Databank which revealed that over 80 per cent of the biometric data captured in the past were not AFIS-compliant.
In order to achieve the expected 100 per cent AFIS-compliant level, it became obvious that the biometrics and bio-data of all existing RSA clients have to be re-captured, based on PenCom-approved standards and specifications.
Going forward, all new RSA client registration must now include mandatory AFIS-compliant biometrics and bio-data capturing.
It was also observed that many of the RSA clients’ profiles on PFA Databases were out-dated, thereby making it extremely difficult for the PFAs to seamlessly treat transactions on such RSAs or communicate with such RSA clients.
Consequently, the PFAs, through their umbrella body – Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria (PenOp), in conjunction with PenCom, decided to engage the services of competent professionals to carry out the capturing of the biometrics (and bio-data) of all existing RSA clients in Nigeria, PenOp said.
The key objectives of the project are to make all existing RSA clients’ profiles AFIS-compliant, to make each existing RSA client’s profile unique, to provide information that will aid the resolution of all historical cases of duplicate records, multiple registrations under different organisations and/or fake names.
While PenCom had since July 2011 drafted regulation for the transfer of RSAs, the commission also promised that employees who are dissatisfied with the services being rendered to them by their PFAs will have the opportunity to transfer their RSAs beginning from December 2012.
However, it was gathered that the commission is yet to open the transfer window because it was still putting the required structure in place to ensure that the aims of this provision of the law are not defeated.