STANBIC IBTC Pension Managers Limited, a member of Stanbic IBTC Holdings, has highlighted the need for Nigerians to be more proactive and assume greater responsibility for their financial security in retirement. To assist in the attainment of this goal, the leading Pension Fund Administrator (PFA) took its public enlightenment campaign to Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, recently with the aim of increasing retirement planning coverage among Nigerians.
Chief Executive Officer, Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers Limited, Dr Demola Sogunle, said the risk of not achieving a financially secure retirement remains high among Nigerians, a situation that necessitates the deepening of awareness about retirement planning in the country.
He emphasized that since retirement from active working life is inevitable, planning for it should commence early in an individual's working life because it typically takes many years to accumulate the necessary funds with which to live comfortably when the salary eventually ceases to arrive every month. "This seminar, besides celebrating those who will soon become retired clients of Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers, also provides an opportunity to address the concerns or anxieties you might have as retirement draws near."
According to him, the seeming lack of interest and complaints of administrative complexities among workers are issues adequately addressed under the Contributory Pension Scheme upgraded through the recently signed Pension Reform Act of 2014; stressing that engaging the expertise of a professional financial advisor will help in designing the appropriate retirement plan for each person and also the adjustment of such plans when the need arises.
By embracing a retirement plan from the early days of employment, Sogunle said Nigerians will avoid the myriad of difficult decisions usually encountered when nearing retirement age. Employers too have a major role to play by helping their employees work on their retirement outlook by opening a retirement savings account, encouraging savings and helping to ease workers' transition to retirement, he said.
The seminar, which had the theme, "Life renewed at 55 and beyond", also provided a platform for the PFA to forge closer ties with its customers and to further illuminate emerging trends, promote awareness, and help educate the public on developments in the pension industry. Among issues discussed by seasoned professionals at the event included preparation for retirement; how to access retirement benefits; health at retirement and investment opportunities for post-retirement.
Mr. Emmanuel Olu-Ayeni, Managing Partner, StarBright Consulting Limited, who spoke on the topic, retiring well and managing wealth, traced the various stages in the active working life that ultimately culminates in retirement. He pointed out that it is the planning and resources mustered during active working days that will shape the lifestyle and level of comfort in retirement.
On her part, Dr. Chito Nwana, Medical Director, Tabitha Medical Center, Abuja, who spoke on Lifestyle and Health, stressed the need for retirees to strike a balance between their expectations and lifestyle in retirement in order to ensure a stress-free life. She recommended appropriate diets and regular physical exercises as imperative for a healthy life in retirement.
Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers, stated Dr Sogunle, is backed by the requisite expertise, experience and strong financial clout of the Standard Bank Group, ensuring efficiency in the management and safety of clients' investments. "We believe that the support, experience and capabilities of the Standard Bank Group, to which Stanbic IBTC belongs, have been instrumental in enhancing our expertise, resource base and general service delivery, thus reinforcing our goal of providing excellent service to all our customers."
He said innovations introduced by the PFA to enable clients experience excellent and convenient service delivery include the Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers mobile office; the first 24-hour multilingual call centre manned by personnel who speak the three major Nigerian languages - Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa; and also Pidgin English; a footprint of over 200 branches of Stanbic IBTC Bank where RSA clients can access pension service; Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers' regional offices; as well as selected branches of Zenith Bank PLC. . Other access points include Stanbic IBTC Bank ATMs, online service for RSA holders, email, SMS and the Pension Notes, which accompany hardcopy RSA statements sent to customers quarterly.
Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers is a subsidiary of Stanbic IBTC Holdings, a member of Standard Bank Group, a full service financial services group with a clear focus on three main business pillars - Corporate and Investment Banking, Personal and Business Banking and Wealth Management. Standard Bank Group is the largest African bank by assets and earnings. It is rooted in Africa with strategic representation in 20 countries on the African continent, including South Africa. Standard Bank has been in operation for 151 years and is focused on building first-class, on-the-ground banks in chosen countries in Africa and connecting other selected emerging markets to Africa and to each other, applying sector expertise, particularly in natural resources, globally.