PFRDA - Pension Fund Regulatory & Development Authority

Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority was instated in the year 2003. The body was set up with an aim to promote, regulate and develop the pension sector in the country. The National Pension Scheme (NPS) was launched by PFRDA in the year 2003 and thereby extended to all sections of citizens in the year 2009. Pension fund regulatory and development authority comes under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Finance.

Functions of PFRDA

The preamble of PFRDA states that the aims of the authority is – “to promote old age income security by establishing, developing and regulating pension funds, to protect the interests of subscribers to schemes of pension funds and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.”

PFRDA is head-quartered at New Delhi with various regional offices spread across the country.

  • Promote pension scheme in the country by fostering mandatory as well as voluntary pension schemes in order to serve the old age income needs of retired personnel
  • National Pension System, both tier 1 and tier 2 are under the purview of PFRDA and are dictated by the same
  • PFRDA performs the function of appointing various intermediate agencies like Pension Fund Managers, Central Record Keeping Agency (CRA) etc.
  • Educating the general public and stakeholders about the importance of pension.
  • Training of intermediaries that perform the task of popularizing and educating people about the importance of pension.
  • Addressing grievances related to various pension schemes in the country.
  • Addressing and resolving disputes between various intermediaries like banks and between customers and intermediaries.

Intermediaries of PFRDA

The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority is divided into three sub-divisions, each of which performs a task to add on to the holistic responsibility of PFRDA towards the Indian citizen. These three sub-bodies are as listed below.

Central Record Keeping Agency (CRA)

Central Record Keeping Agency performs the following functions –

  • Administration and record-keeping of all information of customers who are registered under the National Pension System
  • Issuing of PRAN or Permanent Retirement Account Number for customers who have availed savings plan under the National Pension Scheme
  • Acting as an operational intermediary between PFRDA and other entities like Pension Funds, Trustee Bank etc.
  • Monitoring contributions of NPS subscribers and updating various intermediaries about the same
  • Furnishing periodic and updated PRAN statements to all subscribers on a regular basis
  • Overseeing the settlement of funds that have been invested and the subsequent units allotted to subscribers

Pension Fund Managers (PFMs) 

Listed below are some of the most important functions of the PFMs.

  • Pension Fund Manager essentially are mandated to invest and manage funds of subscribers enrolled in the National Pension System
  • Investment of contribution of subscriber as per rules and guidelines of the PFRDA
  • Maintain books and records of the investment and flow of funds
  • Construction of portfolio of customers who choose auto-allocation of funds
  • Reporting to PFRDA on a regular basis
  • Public disclosure of financial information from time to time as per guidelines issued by PFRDA

Point of Presence Agencies (PoPs) 

The third and the most public-facing entity of the PFRDA is the Point of Presence Agencies. Following are the functions that it performs.

  • Receive and analyse the duly filled application form along with KYC documentation, furnished by customers who register for the NPS scheme
  • To verify KYC documents as and when required
  • To collect and verify NPS contributions made by subscribers via various channels like cash, Demand Draft, cheques and so on
  • To deduct and collect NPS application fee and to furnish receipt of the same to the subscribers
  • To upload contribution files of subscribers on to the Central Record-Keeping Agency system
  • To maintain records of all transactions that happen for various NPS accounts of customers
  • Carry out changes in subscriber details as per requests made by subscriber
  • Handle requests and complaints with regards to contributions made towards NPS and other such request

Trustee Bank

This is also one of the intermediaries of PFRDA. Following are the tasks that this agency performs

  • Receives funds for NPS from all over the country via zonal and regional offices
  • Verifies amounts paid by the zonal offices
  • Fund transfers with discrepancy are returned to zonal office or bank involved and correct transfers are sought
  • Prepares Fund Receipt Information by consolidating all funds received to NPS
  • Transfer funds according to instructions by CRA for settlement of funds for various entities
  • Reconcile daily balances in accordance with CRA
  • Maintain records of contributions by nodal offices and other documents pertaining to the same

Custodian

  • Does the job of maintaining accounts of securities and assets held by customers
  • Collecting accrued benefits on securities and assets
  • Acting as a Domestic Depository and performing functions related to the same
  • Informing about the actions that are to be taken or have been taken by issuer of securities
  • Maintains and reconciles records of services

Nodal offices

Nodal offices are an important link in the spread and reach of NPS schemes. These are the numerous links that join up to make the robust PFRDA.

  • Central Government nodal offices perform the task pf interacting with CRA on behalf of customers for the purposes of NPS
  • State Government Nodal Offices too, perform the same task but under a smaller node

Aggregators

Aggregator can be understood as the most prominent and first point of contact between subscriber and the NPS – Swavalamban scheme.

  • Responsible for carrying out changes in any of the KYC information as requested by subscriber. This includes change in name, address, contact information etc.
  • Grievance handling in cases where subscriber raises a complaint or grievance against any of the intermediaries of the PFRDA.

Apart from the above listed intermediaries, banks that is both public and private ones are also responsible to a certain extent for popularizing and opening of NPS Accounts of subscribers in the country. The main aim of the government behind running the Pension fund regulatory and development authority and subsequent NPS schemes is to make sure that citizens have a certain pension fund to fall back on when they retire from their jobs (government or private).

News About NPS

  • Premature exit rules changed by the PFRDA

    The Pension Funds Regulatory and Development Authority has offered its subscribers who had opted for a premature exit a chance to invest in their retirement through low-cost pension funds. The subscribers of the National Pension Scheme can reinvest by redepositing the amount withdrawn or opening a new Permanent Retirement Account Number.

    The existing rule states that the subscribers can exit the NPS prematurely when they become 60 years old. Under this rule, 80% of the amount is converted into an annuity and the rest can be withdrawn as lump sum.

    Since the PFRDA had stated that they have been receiving many requests from pension holders who have not availed annuity but withdrawn their lumpsum, there are other options which subscribers can choose. Either they can open a new NPS account with the PRAN or continue in the NPS with the same PRAN and redeposit the amount withdrawn.

    25 Sept 2020

  • PFRDA-regulated NPS likely to cross AUM of Rs.5 lakh crore by September

    Speaking at FICCI’s 21st Annual Insurance Conference, PFRDA chairman has stated that assets under management (AUM) of NPS is likely to cross Rs.5 lakh crore by the end of September. As per Section 80CCD(1B), investors are allowed a deduction on the amount contributed towards NPS of up to Rs.50,000. Currently, under NPS, at least 40 percent of the accumulated pension wealth of the subscriber needs to be utilized for the purchase of an annuity, providing for the monthly pension to the subscriber, and the balance 60 percent is paid as a lump-sum. He added that the Atal Pension Yojana (APY) is also doing well as more than 2 million customers have joined the scheme in the current financial year despite lockdown and these challenging times.

    It must be noted here that though there has been some awareness about pension products in the country, the overall coverage has remained low. As per the Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index, India is ranked 32 out of 37 countries. The report shows that the Indian index value have increased to 45.8 in 2019 from 44.6 in 2018.

    30 Aug 2020

  • PFRDA working on a new pension scheme

    The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) is working on a new pension scheme as per its chairman. The authority is working on a minimum assured return-based pension scheme and is in talks with pension funds and actuarial firms to work out the modalities. He stated that under the PFRDA Act they have the mandate to launch a minimum assured return scheme. He added that they will give out the new product on their own unlike National Pension Scheme (NPS) and Atal Pension Yojana (APY) which are created in consultation with the (Finance) Ministry.

    It must be noted here that PFRDA administers two government pension fund schemes known as NPS and APY. While NPS is for both central and state government employees, autonomous bodies and corporate organisations, APY is targeted at the unorganised sector.

    30 Aug 2020

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