Group flays SEC’s failure to pay entitlement to pensioners for over 10yrs
…Commission refutes the claim, insists settlement of pension approved by FG
The Association of Securities and Exchange Commission Retirees (ASEC) has flayed the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over failure to pay its pensioners their entitlements for over 10 years.
In a statement made available to The Guardian, the association also alleged that the commission has failed to offset the new pension increment and arrears from the consequential adjustment on minimum wage for pensioners.
The group described the action as a deviation from the presidential directive that new rates should be implemented not later than March 31, 2021, with arrears of over two years.
ASEC said it has made several representations to the SEC on payment of this debt including filing a court action, but stated that these efforts did not yield any meaningful result.
According to ASEC, many retirees have died in the last few months while some are seriously sick and unable to take care of themselves due to the SEC’s insensitivity to their plight.
“This is despite the huge resources at the disposal of the SEC and the generous additional benefits given to staff and the political appointees. The retirees have had to engage a lawyer from their meager resources to pursue negotiations with SEC and to take their case to court.
“More worrisome to the pensioners is the fact that for several years, the SEC has refused to call a meeting of the board of trustees of the pension fund where the pensioners are represented.”
The group stated that this has enabled the mismanagement of the fund, which has given rise to a series of negative returns on investment (ROI).
In addition, the SEC has refused to make statutory contributions to the fund as provided by the Pensions Act.
They pointed out that the non-compliance with laws and regulations guiding the management of pension funds, including the lack of transparency in the selection of its Pension Fund manager (PFA), has resulted in negative returns and possibly the reasons for non-payment of their benefits.
The group stated that it has resolved to seek the intervention of relevant authorities and the court to get Justice considering the hostile repulsive attitude from the SEC.
ASEC further explained that it has lost some of their retirees, including a retired Director General, Director of the commission and some senior staff, in addition to those who are seriously sick and unable to finance costs of good medical care due to non-payment of years of outstanding entitlements.
In a reaction, the SEC has denied the claims, stating that the commission has settled all pension increases approved by the Federal Government (FG), except for the payment of the outstanding 15 per cent, currently being processed by the SEC’s PFA.
According to a statement by the commission: “The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) wishes to respond to the publication by the ASEC, and express its dismay that such an article will be published despite the amicable relationship between the current Management and the ASEC
“In view of the large sum involved, the payment will involve breaking of investments at maturity date which may delay timely payment.
“We wish to state that the commission has been having conversations with the representatives of the ASEC and their Lawyer and they are aware of all these updates.”
On the payment of the new pension increase and arrears, the commission pointed out that the board approved the consequential adjustment on minimum wage for pensioners and all pensioners have been paid a full increase with arrears which is contrary to the assertion.
The commission further stated that the global financial crisis of 2008 which affected the nation’s capital market, also exacerbated by the 2020 coronavirus pandemic impacted negatively on its revenue.
It stated that despite the low capital market performance and declined revenues of the commission, it has always met its obligations to its pensioners and retirees.
In addition, SEC said it reviewed all circulars and fully implemented outstanding circulars with arrears in 2014 upon receipt of complaints on non-implementation of circulars on harmonisation by the Pensioners.