Finance

Pension Regulator Seeks Government Support to Widen Subscriber Base

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Mumbai: After achieving a new milestone in AUM (assets under management) and subscriber base early this month, the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) is looking for some fiscal support from the government for its ongoing move to expand subscriber base further.

The assets under management (AUM) of its National Pension System (NPS) have crossed Rs 1 lakh crore mark in the first week of October at around Rs 1,10,000 crore, while the NPS subscriber base also crossed 1 crore-mark in the first week of October.

“Our efforts are now targeted at expanding the subscriber base further, particularly in the corporate and the private citizens segments. We are looking to an early breakthrough in this segment which will grow the base and coverage significantly,” PFRDA Member R V Verma told PTI.

“Some fiscal support from the government will considerably help us. And we will take up this request again with the government,” he said.

He, however, did not specify how much fund the pension fund regulator is looking at from the government.

Besides, the regulator is also focusing on strengthening its grievance redressal mechanism.

“We are also focusing on strengthening the grievance redressal mechanism for the subscribers for which PFRDA has directed all the intermediaries to attend to the grievances on priority basis and resolve them at the earliest,” he said, adding “We’re closely monitoring the status of grievance resolution through the NPS Trust.”

This will remain an area of priority for the PFRDA for which we have also taken up the matter with the Centre and the states for greater discipline and timeliness among their nodal offices in NPS rollout, he said.

“We’re confident that better coordination and a greater sense of responsibility on the part of the Centre and states will substantially reduce grievances. The grievance redressal mechanism is being constantly strengthened and streamlined,” he added.

The regulator is also working towards further improving the infrastructure for minimising the response time.

As part of this measure, PFRDA is more closely coordinating with the Centre and states whose share accounts for over 90 per cent of the total AUM.

Other important area of the regulator’s initiative is to harmonise the scope of NPS for the government and private/corporate sector, thus bringing parity between these two segments in terms of choice of pension fund managers and investment allocation choice.

Mr Verma further said, “This will be done in a calibrated manner, under the broader recommendations of the GN Bajpai panel and in close consultation with the government. Currently, this is a work in progress”.

“This will also open up the scope for greater competition for funds among the pension fund managers which in turn will bring greater value in terms of efficiency, pricing and better service to subscribers,” he added.

Subscribers also in parallel will be empowered and educated through various financial literacy programmes and also through information websites with PFM/NPS Trust.

“The idea is to provide all the required information to subscribers about the market and the performance of PFMs so as to enable them to take informed decisions. PFRDA will partner with all stakeholders in this effort of subscribers’ education which will be an on-going process,” he added.

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