Umar Mairami now president of PenOp

By Favour Nnabugwu



The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Premium Pension Limited, Umar Mairami, has been elected as the new President of PenOp.

He takes over from Olumide Oyetan, whose tenure as President ended on March 31, 2024.

Olumide had been the president of the industry association for two years, having been elected in 2022.

In an online ceremony held recently, the new President, alongside the  newly elected executives took their oath of offices, pledging to carry on the ideals of the association and work to ensure harmonious relationship within the industry and to continue to maintain high standards of ethics and integrity within the industry.

In addition to the election of Umar Mairami as President of the Association, there were other executives that were either newly elected or re-elected to serve a two-year term as members of the executive committee of PenOp.

The Vice President was re-elected in the person of Joy Ojakovo, who is also the General Manager of Progress Trust Closed Pension Fund Administrator.

The Head of Legal and Regulatory was also re-elected in person of Godson Ukpevo, the MD/CEO of Veritas Glanvills Pensions Limited.

A New treasurer of the association was also elected in the person of Peters Eledu who is the MD/CEO of Zenith pensions Limited.

A new head of Media, branding and communication in the person of Donald Onuoha, who is also the MD/CEO of Fidelity Pensions Managers Limited was elected.

The Executive team will be in place for the next two years and they will work alongside the current CEO of PenOp to steer the affairs of the association.

Speaking on the elections and handover, The Chief Executive Officer of PenOp, Oguche Agudah, said “times of transitions and elections can be challenging within the life of an association if not handled well, but we have put in place mechanisms to ensure that it’s smooth, seamless and the strategic direction of the industry is preserved based on a shared commitment.”

Speaking on his election, Umar Mairami said he appreciated his colleagues for electing him and the other executive members, while pledging to work with all stakeholders to ensure that the industry keeps growing and keeps impacting the lives of Nigerians positively.

PenOp launches WOPEN for industry female leaders

By Favour Nnabugwu



The Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria, PenOp, has launched Women of Pension Network (WOPEN), a coaching and mentoring session, connecting seasoned female industry leaders with young female professionals.

The PenOp ideology initiative aims to provide guidance, support, and development opportunities to young female professionals in the industry who are seeking to enhance their skills, knowledge, and performance.

The WOPEN launch was in commemoration of the International Women’s Day (IWD), a global celebration held annually on March 8th.

It commemorates the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women while also advocating for gender equality and women’s rights.

In the spirit of the 2024 celebrations with the theme Inspire Inclusion, the PenOp, organized a hybrid event to commemorate the celebrations. The networking and informative session was supported by Infracredit, Providus bank and 10Alytics.

The event attracted top female professionals within the pension industry and beyond to discuss some themes that affect women in the workplace.

The event with the theme Accelerating Gender Parity in the Workplace consisted of two exciting panel sessions with the topic Women as a Solution to Nigeria’s Economic Challenges and Drivers Seat: The Role of Women in Digital Transformation. The panel had female C suite experts within the pension industry deliberate on key issues confronting women in the workplace and in the society at large.

The keynote speaker, Mrs. Anana Emanuel Esq. who is also chairperson of NLPC PFA, in her speech, stated that she has always been interested in the topic of gender parity, while she emphasized that she isn’t out to disparage men but to talk about equity and fairness.

She spoke about the goal of living in a world where every woman and girl can exercise their freedom and choice and realize their right such as to live free from violence, go to school, participate in decisions and to earn equal pay for work of equal value. Emphasizing the same right, rewards, opportunities, and resources to work.

In conclusion, the session sought to shine the light on the disparity between the genders in the workplace, particularly in the pension industry and to fashion a way forward in accelerating gender parity in the workplace.

PenOp throws more light into diabetes

By Favour Nnabugwu



The Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria (PenOp) recently organized a medical webinar titled “Managing Diabetes in Everyday Life,” where experts shared knowledge of healthy living and health management.

The webinar aimed to provide pension industry professionals with comprehensive insights into diabetes, including its types, identification, causes, and management strategies.

Adaobi Okoye, PenOp’s Head of Human Resources, opened the session by underscoring the necessity of health management for optimal functioning both at work and in daily life. Oguche Agudah, CEO of PenOp, further emphasized the importance of regular exercise and encouraged attendees to maximize the webinar’s opportunities. The online session garnered participation from over 200 pension industry professionals.

Facilitated by Dr. Akinkunmi Ilori, Group Head of Medical Operations at Bastion HMO and a renowned medical doctor and public health specialist, the webinar delved into the signs, symptoms, screening methods, treatment options, and prevention strategies for diabetes.

Dr. Akinkunmi explained that diabetes encompasses a group of diseases affecting how the body’s tissues utilize glucose, resulting in high blood sugar levels due to insufficient insulin production or ineffective insulin response. He discussed various types of diabetes, including Type 1, Type 2, Gestational, and Maturity-onset diabetes of the young (MODY), along with their causes and management approaches such as oral medications, insulin injections, and lifestyle modifications.

Addressing risk factors such as age, ethnicity, family history, and obesity, Dr. Akinkunmi stressed the importance of dietary habits and regular physical activity in diabetes management. He also highlighted optimal blood sugar levels for diabetic individuals.

The webinar concluded with attendees gaining practical knowledge on diabetes screening, treatment options, and effective management and prevention strategies, empowering them to take proactive steps towards better health and well-being.

The webinar was part of PenOp’s ongoing monthly knowledge-sharing sessions. These sessions provide a platform for professionals in the pension industry to network, exchange ideas, and listen to subject matter experts discuss relevant topics.

“I’m pleasantly surprised at the growth of the Contributory Pension Scheme” – Obasanjo

“I’m pleasantly surprised at the growth of the Contributory Pension Scheme”. – Obasanjo

By Favour Nnabugwu

Nigeria’s former President Olusegun Obasanjo stated that he was pleasantly surprised at the growth of the pension assets over the last 20 years.
Obasanjo mentioned that when his administration instituted the pension reforms and pushed to have a bill to reform the way pension administration were done in Nigeria, they did not think that the assets will grow this quickly and have the positive effect it has had so far.
 He stated this in a recent interview with the Chief Executive of the Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria (PenOp), Oguche Agudah. The interview was held as part of events to mark twenty years of pension reforms in Nigeria.Going down memory lane.
Obasanjo said that one of the major reasons for the reform was his pain at seeing so many pensioners queuing up to collect their pensions during his first term in office, especially military men who had served the Nation.
With this in mind, he resolved to see how the government could make pension management and administration private sector driven and more in line with global best practices.
When asked about why they chose Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) for Nigeria, He said “it’s simple, we just see what other countries are doing and if it’s good for us we copy it and adapt. There is no harm in copying if we see what other countries are doing and it’s good for them, we adapt”.
 In addition, he said what the pension industry needs to do now is to see how the pension assets that have been saved over the years can help more in national development, especially infrastructure investments in a safe and sustainable manner that does not jeopardize people’s pensions.
Obasanjo was speaking as part of the activities to mark twenty years of pension reforms in Nigeria. The year 2024 marks 20 years since the initial pension reform act was signed.
The Pension reform Act was the bedrock of a cross cutting committee that worked on pension reforms in Nigeria which culminated in the drafting and enactment of the pension reform act which essentially professionalized pensions management in Nigeria, moved the  management to the private sector and helped to wean the government from unsustainable pension liabilities.
Pensioners stand in ovation for Contributory Pension Scheme

By Favour Nnabugwu
The National Union of Pensioners Contributory Pension Scheme (NUPCPS) stated that the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) is the best thing that has happened to Nigeria’s Pension administration.
They stated this when they paid a courtesy visit to the CEO of the Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria (PenOp) Mr. Oguche Agudah, recently.
The pensioners who were represented by their executives from various states of the Federation mentioned that the way that the CPS is framed is in the best interest of pensioners if implemented to the letter.
They said the CPS has eliminated fraud, has given them certainty of payments of pensions, and has also allowed them to be able to plan.Having said this however, they said there are aspects of the CPS that can be improved upon, and they called on the PenOp CEO to engage with other stakeholders to ensure that these things are looked into.
Some of the things they mentioned had to do with constant engagement with the pensioners by the industry, the enhancement of their pensions and more transparency in terms of how their returns are shown to them.
The CEO of PenOp, Oguche Agudah, responded by saying the pensioners are the reason the industry exists and that all workers in the pension space have the pensioners to thank for their jobs.
He commended the pensioners for giving their all to their country and their organizations in their twilight years and he further added that the pension industry and the country still needs to tap from wealth of experience that they have gathered over the years.
He assured the pensioners that the pension industry is committed to the welfare of the pensioners, will continue to listen and engage with them ever so often to hear them out.
He assured them Pension Fund Operators are working daily to ensure the best outcomes for pensioners. The chairman of the NUPCPS, Mr Nwaiwu thanked Mr. Agudah for his listening ear and his desire to champion the cause of pensioners.
He also thanked him for his support over the years and tasked him not to relenting in his efforts to make sure the impact of the CPS is felt maximally by the pensioners.
N1.71 trn invested in money market, N270bn in State Govt securites – PenCom

By Favour Nnabugwu

National Pension Commission, PenCom, announced that a total of N.71 trillion has been  invested in money market instruments while N270 billion in state government securities
This was contained in the unaudited report of PenCom on Pension Funds Industry Portfolio for the Period Ended January 31, 2024.
Also revealed in the report is the pension fund assets which stood at N19.53 trillion as at January 31, 2024, as against N18.36 trillion in December 31, 2023, gaining N1.17 trillion.
PenCom said N12.14 trillion of the fund has been invested in Federal Government of Nigeria securities, which breakdown revealed that, bonds gulp N11.59 trillion; treasury bills, N221.81 billion; agency bonds, N14.86 billion; sukuk bonds, N124.89 billion and green bonds, N181.57 billion.
PenCom said the fund assets in United States Dollars value was N14.39 billion at an exchange rate of N1,356 per a Dollar.
The Retirement Savings Account (RSA) membership as at the period was 10.22 million.
PenCom denies N10trn loan to FG, says it is totally misleading 

By Favour Nnabugwu

Acclaimed reports about Nation Pension Commission, PenCom’s N10trillion loan to the federal government has been refuted by the Director General of  PenCom, Mrs. Aisha Dahir-Umar who described as totally misleading.

She also responded to claims that PenCom was owing Federal Government retirees arrears of pensions as well as insinuations that Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) are not fulfilling their obligations to retirees with regards to access to their retirement savings.
Dahir-Umar, stated that apart from the fact that PenCom is not a bank and does not warehouse or manage pension funds, the Federal Government did not take a loan of N10 trillion from the Commission.
“Investments by the PFAs in the securities of the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) are not loans as erroneously portrayed, but investments in securities, through bonds and treasury bills, as approved by the relevant government agencies, in this case the Debt Management Office (DMO) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
She explained further, “They are traded on authorized capital markets. That is, the Nigerian Exchange Limited and FMDQ OTC Securities
“Moreover, pension fund assets are not managed by PenCom. I have said it repeatedly that when we say pension assets have grown to N15 trillion, that does not mean PenCom has N15 trillion locked somewhere in its office or bank accounts.
Pension fund assets are managed by the licensed PFAs and held in custody by the licensed Pension Fund Custodians (PFCs). The PFAs are responsible for investing pension fund assets in allowable asset classes, including FGN debts instruments.
The objectives are safety and fair returns. All these are in line with the provisions of the enabling law, the Pension Reform Act 2014, and the rules issued by the Commission. It is obvious from the above that what is referred to ‘loan to FGN’ is just investment in FGN securities by the PFAs, as is done by other institutional investors such as banks, insurance companies, asset managers, etc.”
Mrs. Dahir-Umar added that it is an international best practice to invest in investible instruments issued or backed by the sovereign authority and that the FGN securities meet the objectives of safety and fair returns.
“The FGN has consistently met its repayment obligations, both principal amount and accrued interest, for all investments in bonds and T-bills to all investors including pension funds. The information is always in the open and accessible on our website,,” she said.
The PenCom DG further clarified claims about outstanding benefits to Federal Government retirees.“The delayed payment of retirement benefits to some Federal Government retirees and deceased employees is because of the inadequate and delayed funding for the payment of Accrued Pension Rights for those who were in service before the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) was introduced when PenCom was established in 2004”
She continued, “Payment of the accrued rights is subject to release of funds by the Federal Government. So, it is beyond the powers of the Commission. However, we have been engaging the Federal Ministry of Finance for more funds to be released to settle these liabilities, but it is not a secret that the government itself has budgetary constraints.
”She noted that all those enrolled under the CPS have been receiving their benefits through their PFAs and there is no unsolved complaint before the Commission.Signed: Management
Access Holdings gets PenCom, FCCPC approval for majority stake in ARM Pensions Managers Ltd

By Favour Nnabugwu 
A subsidiary of Access Holdings,Access Golf Nigeria Limited  has received the ‘no-objection’ of the National Pension Commission and the approval of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission for its proposed acquisition of a majority equity stake in ARM Pensions Managers (PFA) Limited (‘ARM’).

Access Holdings Plc (‘Access Holdings’) announced a major development in its ongoing growth strategy. Access Golf Nigeria Limited (‘Access Golf’), a majority shareholder of Access Pensions Limited (‘Access Pensions’) which is subsidiary of Access Holdings.

Subject to the receipt of relevant regulatory approvals, it is intended that following the acquisition, the operations of ARM and Access Pensions will be merged to create Nigeria’s second largest Pension Fund Administrator (PFA) by Assets Under Management.

Commenting on this transaction, Dr. Herbert Wigwe, the Group Chief Executive, Access Holdings, said:“We are pleased to have reached this transformative milestone in our pension fund administration journey.

The proposed combination of ARM Pension with Access Pensions will not only create sustainable stakeholder value but will also contribute positively to the growth and development of the pension industry. We anticipate an exciting future for the combined entity.”

Speaking on the transaction, Jumoke Ogundare, the Group CEO of ARM Holding Company Limited said:“The market in which we operate is ripe for consolidation and I am confident that the proposed combination will create a formidable pension funds administration business leveraging Access Group’s expansive distribution network and innovation culture to deliver sustainable value to stakeholders

“The completion of this transaction is contingent upon obtaining all requisite regulatory approvals. Access Holdings remains committed to keeping the market informed in line with its disclosure obligations.###Access Holdings Plc Access Holdings Plc is a leading multinational financial services group that offers commercial banking, lending, payment, insurance, and asset management services.

Headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria, Access Holdings operates through a network of more than 700 branches and service outlets, spanning three continents, 20 countries, and 60+ million customers.

Access transitioned into a holding company to drive rapid growth and become a full-scale ecosystem player offering interconnected services across customer needs. Established in 2022, Access Holdings Plc consists of the Access Bank Group; Access Pensions; a Payment and Switching Services Company; a Digital Lending Company, and an Insurance Brokerage Company.

The banking vertical serves its various markets through four business segments: Retail, Business, Commercial and Corporate, and has enjoyed what is it arguably Africa’s most successful banking growth trajectory in the last eighteen years, becoming one of Africa’s largest retail banks by customer base and Sub-Saharan Africa’s largest bank by total assets.

Access Holdings strives to deliver sustainable economic growth that is profitable, environmentally responsible, and socially relevant, helping customers to access more and achieve their dreams.
PenCom emerges top best on Ethics & Integrity Compliance

By Favour Nnabugwu 

The National Pension Commission (PenCom) has emerged the top position in the 2023 Ethics and Integrity Compliance Scorecard (EICS) by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

In the evaluation, PenCom best over 50 government organisations to clinche that top position while PenCom also emerged the overall 14th position out of 404 Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) on the comprehensive scorecard.
Notably, PenCom achieved a commendable score, which was described by the ICPC as “substantial compliance.”In recognition of this achievement, the ICPC conveyed its commendation to PenCom, acknowledging the organisation’s commitment to upholding ethics and integrity in its operations.
The ICPC particularly commended PenCom for its well-established structures and processes that promote efficiency, while encouraging management to maintain high service delivery.
The annual deployment of the Ethics and Integrity Compliance Scorecard by the ICPC aims to assess MDAs’ compliance with existing ethical, integrity, statutory, policy, and regulatory standards and practices. This initiative aligns with the Commission’s preventive mandate.
The scorecard aims to minimise corruption risks, prevent system abuse, and revitalise ethics and integrity benchmarks in MDAs. The overarching objective is to ensure good service delivery while promoting a culture of ethical conduct within public service institutions.
PenCom remains committed to sustaining the well-acknowledged transparency in regulating the Nigerian pension industry for the benefit of pension contributors and retirees. This continues to manifest through a consistent increase in pension assets and other key performance indicators.
Insurance, pension play key drivers role to economic growth 

By Favour Nnabugwu 
For the nation’s economy to grow and develop very well, insurance and pension have a key drivers to the role according to  the Finance expert and Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer  APT Securities and Funds Limited, Mallam Kasim Garba Kurfi,
Kurfi, who stated this while delivering the theme paper on the  “Role of Insurance and Pension Sectors In Building Sustainable Economic Growth Under The New Government,” at the 8th Annual National Conference of the Nigerian Association of Insurance and Pension Editors (NAIPE) in Lagos said insurance and pension sectors today stand as  engines for sustainable economic growth and forces to reckon  with in every economy .
Kurfi therefore called on the present administration in the country  to put in place enabling policies and laws that support the survival of the sectors for them to continue to contribute the national growth.
Kurfi, while highlighting the contributions of the two sectors to the national economy said, “There is over N2.5 trillion assets managed by the insurance institution in Nigeria as of 31st December 2022.
“While there is over N16.6 trillion assets managed by the Pension Fund Administration as at 31st December 2022, the combination of the two institutions has a total asset of over N19 trillion. The role played by the two institutions in sustaining our economic growth left no one in doubt that they are instruments for most of the economic development
“Over N726 billion in premiums paid in the year 2022 according to the National Insurance Commission, while the industry also paid over N318.1 billion in claims to its customers within the same period. This is a remarkable achievement in comparison with 3.5% growth of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).”
He said insurance institutions give security to the future of the common people and aid economic growth upon happenings or allowance of specific event or disaster.
“Insurance represent promise of the future compensation in case of specific losses or in exchange for periodic payment called premium.
“Managing risk is very important for companies dealing with money or equivalent. The insurance industry promotes National development through wealth creation or protection. It primarily hedges against risk or contingent or uncertain loss.”
On pension, he said, “The contribution of pension funds that run over N16 trillion is pronounced in all phases of life. Many sectors of the economy benefit from excess funds that look for alternative ways to invest such as FGN SUKUK, GREEN BOND, and Infrastructures Bond, among many others.”
Kurfi said Pension ensures that every worker receives his/her retirement benefit as at when due. Ensure workers save in order to cater for future liability and old age. Provide long-term finance for the real sector. Stimulate the development of the capital market.
While condemning those agencies and institutions clamouring to exit Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS), Kurfi enjoined the government at all levels to discourage such moves for the interest of the Pensioners and the nation’s economy.
He said the contribution of insurance and pension sectors towards economic development is imminent and can be seen especially in driving the nation’s financial inclusion project.