August 03 , 2017
Assets of private pension funds industry cross Rs 25 bln: SECP
ISLAMABAD: The private pension funds industry grew by over 32 percent during Fiscal Year (FY) 2016-2017 and the total assets of the industry crossed Rs 25 billion, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) said on Thursday.
The growth in the pension industry has primarily resulted from an increase in participation by general investors and better performance of the stock market. Private pension funds have more than 18,000 participants, and nearly 60 percent of their assets are invested in the equity market. Investors preferred sharia-compliant pension products over conventional products. Out of Rs25 billion assets of pension funds, over Rs16 rupees comprise of sharia-compliant securities.
Private pension funds were introduced in 2007, under the 2005 Voluntary Pension System Rules. At present, there are 19 pension funds operating in the market, out of which 10 are Sharia compliant and 9 are conventional. These funds are managed by 10 fund managers, who have vast experience in managing pooled investments. The pension funds provide participants with options to invest in securities and commodities.
Participants can choose allocation policies suiting their risk and return preferences. The fund managers, depending on an asset class, charge fee ranging from 0.5 percent to 1.5 percent per annum. Fund managers can also charge sales load up to 3 percent of the contribution.
However, the SECP has issued a directive restraining pension fund managers to charge sales load if investors themselves approach the fund manager for investment. All persons holding Computerized National Identity Card (CNIC) can join pension funds and get tax credit of up to 20 percent of taxable income. People above 40 years of age can get even higher tax benefits.
Participants can choose retirement age between 60 to 70 years. On retirement, they can withdraw up to 50 percent of the accumulated balance in lump sum and the remaining 50 percent in installments, as pension.