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Trustfund cautions retirees on fake offers, benefits

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Pension
Apparently worried by frivolous calls and text messages promising “better offer” to retirees in the country, Trustfund Pension Plc has cautioned retirees and workers alike to be wary of those claims, describing them as larger-than-life.

The pension administrators said besides not being a party to those “high yield offers” currently going round, their callers are just agents of some insurance companies and would no longer be seen once retirees’ funds are committed into their care.

This warning was in response to concerns raised by retirees at a recent stakeholders’ meeting in Lagos.

Among the concerns are the issue of some unknown callers making enticing offers to retirees; programme withdrawal issues, biometrics, and the common controversy between a next of kin and beneficiary, in respect of eligibility to an enrollee’s benefits, among others.

Trustfund Customer Relations Officer for North I and II, Maha Longe, said that the PFA was not unaware of such frivolous messages flying around and trying to cajole enrollees to programme withdrawal.

Longe, however, said that the retirees have to be very careful because it concerns their life savings, coupled with fact that they are already old and some of them not learned to be able to discern spurious offers and outright lies.
Longe said: “They are telling you that your pension (with PFAs) is not for life but only for five years. That is not true. Some people have given testimonies that they gave their offers but they are not satisfied with the outcome. Some have said that they will not answer such calls.

“I want you to know that some of those callers are just agents, aiming for there 10 per cent and just want to devalue Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs). It is a pity because we don’t want people to go where they don’t belong. The truth has to be told and let the people make their decisions, after all, it is their money,” she said.

She stressed that the laws guiding pension scheme in the country is clear, adding that Trustfund package is for life, but same cannot be said of the so-called enticing offers.

“Your monies with us has security and are invested in a transparent manner. At anytime, you can walk into our organisation and demand for their statements.

“We have examples of someone that has been collecting pensions for over six years. Whatever she is collecting then is not the same as at now. It has tripled in amount. So, how can someone complain that your pension will end after five years? It is not true and our enrollees can see it,” Longe said.

Trustfund Pensions Plc, with over 500,000 enrollees, is an off-shoot of the oldest pension fund institution in Nigeria, Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), which has been in the business of pension funds management for over 40 years.

Pensioners who retired under the National Provident Fund (NPF) scheme of 1961 and the NSITF scheme of 1993 are some of the pensioners on the monthly pension payroll of Trustfund.

“Our experience is unrivalled and conveys the requisite stability, confidence and trust required in the management of long term savings scheme. This means upon retirement and at a time when members most need their retirement savings, Trustfund Pensions Plc can be counted upon to be there for them,” Saheed Fashola, from the Investment Department said.

At October 2015, the firm has paid over N20 billion to retirees since its inception.

It was gathered that the PFA has over 40,000 retirees under its contributory pension scheme while it pays N200 million yearly to retirees under the scheme.

The authorized share capital of Trustfund Pensions Plc is N2 billion with N1.98 billion shareholders’ funds unimpaired by losses, which far exceeds the new minimum requirement of N1 billion shareholders’ fund as mandated by PenCom.

Responding to questions on the eligibility of a next of kin to benefits of a deceased enrollee, Head of Lagos Region. Obafemi Arobadi, informed that there is difference between a next of kin and a beneficiary that are often requested in the details of a pensioner.

Arobadi said that the purpose of a next of kin is strictly for contact in case of an emergency and quite different from a beneficiary or beneficiaries (as the case may be). The later – often spouse or children – are those eligible to takeover an estate left by an enrollee.

He added: “It is always important to know the difference and keep the data updated with every change in status – be it from single to married, change in contact address, change in phone number and so on. Once anything changes, it is important to come and collect an update form to keep everything intact for seamless collection of claims,” Arobadi said.

On delays in remittance of claims alleged by some Lagos pensioners, Arobadi explained that it is the government that actually pays their pensions, “and the PFA only disburses as soon as we get it and all the documents are intact.”

He urged all pensioners to keep their documents intact to avoid delays, adding, “a personal email address is most preferred.”

He added that it iss important to ensure that no third-party have knowledge of their pension’s worth.

“A lot of us cannot remember our Personal Identification Number (PIN). With your phone numbers registered with us, you can know your pin and account details.”

For PIN confirmation, he urged enrollees with Trustfund to type ‘PIN’ as message on their phones and send same to 07067316236. And for balance, type ‘PAL’ as message and send to 07067316236 for balance.



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