IMPACT

Pension assets drop 5.8% on covid effects -RBA

'More than 15 million workers in the informal sector who contribute 34 per cent to GDP are excluded

In Summary
  • The growth shrunk  to Sh1.322 trillion in 2020  from Sh1.398 trillion.
  •  Offshore investments also recorded a jump from Sh5.92 billion to Sh11.38 billion
Octagon Pension Services MD Godwin Simba, Octagon Africa Group CEO Fred Waswa (right) demonstrates to RBA CEO Nzomo Mutuku on how to use Mobikeza, a digital pension solution for the informal sector
Octagon Pension Services MD Godwin Simba, Octagon Africa Group CEO Fred Waswa (right) demonstrates to RBA CEO Nzomo Mutuku on how to use Mobikeza, a digital pension solution for the informal sector

Retirement Benefits Authority chief executive officer Nzomo Mutuku has attributed the slow growth in the retirement benefits assets during the second half of 2020 to Covid-19.

According to RBA, the growth dropped by 5.77 per cent from Sh1.322 trillion to Sh1.398 trillion.

Addressing delegates during a two day retirement conference, themed “Setting a strategy for retirement benefits provision in a post-Covid-19 world” , Nzomo said  fund managers and approved issuers held majority of the assets amounting to Sh1.286 trillion.

Schemes continued to invest heavily in government securities with the asset class accounting for 44 per cent of the total assets under management.

This was followed by immovable property which accounted for 17 per cent, investments in guaranteed funds 16% and investments in quoted equities 15 per cent.

“Investment in quoted equities increased by 16 per cent compared to June 2020 owing to the rebound of the stock market after the effects of Covid-19 pandemic,''Nzomo said.

 Offshore investments also recorded a jump from Sh5.92 billion to Sh11.38 billion, 92 per ent compared to June 2020.

The regulator attributed this to the depreciation of Kenya shilling against the dollar and schemes pursuing diversification due to the stock market volatility.

He said through market conduct regulation, promotion of consumer confidence by focusing on the way firms treat consumers, availability of information and dispute resolution.

Director of Pensions at the National Treasury Michael Kagika said under the social security reforms the independence of the constitution is concerned with defining policies and protecting individual and fundamental rights of Kenyans.

He said there is a need to fill the long term savings coverage gap for the informal sector as 20 per cent of the labour force is almost exclusively in the formal sector.

''More than 15 million workers in the informal sector who contribute 34 per cent to GDP are excluded”, he said.

He added that  the current pension saving infrastructure does not cater for the unique needs of the marginalized sector as it was designed for the formal sector.

Kingsland Court Group Executive Director Roger Urion challenged policy makers to move with speed in reviewing taxation policy for retirement savings.

He said continued delay in adopting a forward thinking national retirement benefits policy and constant assault on the fundamental principle of saving for retirement are some of the key low moments the industry is facing.

“As a sector we must institute measures to ensure that if another crisis were to occur, we can face it with structured resources, capabilities, services and products that are stronger, more resilient, more flexible,” Urion said.