9 December 2012

Uganda: Sh3 Trillion Asset Growth Changes NSSF's Face

The National Social Security Fund has changed its look to appeal more to workers, and also announced a new milestone - crossing the Shs 3 trillion mark in pension savings, as it anticipates competition when the pension industry is opened up.

The fund on Thursday unveiled its new look; a refreshed blue and green logo under a new tagline, 'A better future', which, according to Richard Byarugaba, the company's Managing Director, symbolizes the company's renewed commitment to be more transparent and relevant to its members.

"We are not merely changing our look and feel but, rather, the change of our visual identity symbolizes my commitment, your commitment and our commitment to deliver a better future for our growing membership by providing quality products, great customer service and offering competitive returns in a transparent and efficient environment," Byarugaba told the press at Kampala Serena hotel.

Offering a hint that the industry is about to be liberalized after years of intense lobbying, Byarugaba said: "Delivering a better future starts today and this we are already doing through payment of better returns, great customer care and transparency. In the liberalized environment, we will be able to leverage our strength, expertise and experience to create great products for our members," he added.

The fund's asset base grew to Shs 3 trillion as of last month from Shs 2.1 trillion in 2010/11. The fund's assets are invested in fixed income (Shs 2.7 trillion, representing 81%), equities (Shs 391bn, accounting for 13%) and real estate (Shs 175bn, which is 6%).

This strong growth, according to Byarugaba, is attributed to the fund's good relationship management, which has seen compliance improve from 63% to 73% over the last two years.

The turnaround time for processing and paying benefits, for example, improved by 60% from 50 to 20 days, and NSSF members can now access information about their accounts online or on their phones.

This has boosted customer confidence in the fund which has seen the monthly contributions up by 71% from Shs 24.5bn to Shs 42bn in the same period, while member balances have also grown by 70% from Shs 1.7bn to Shs 2.9bn.

"Overall, the fund is growing by Shs 50bn a month," Byarugaba said.

The income has grown by 86% from Shs 158bn in 2010/11 to Shs 294bn in 2012/13. Overall costs have been reduced by 11% and as a result, cost-income ratio has improved from 37% to 18%. Benefits paid to members are up by 60% from Shs 64bn to Shs 102bn while interest paid to members went up by 126% from Shs 89bn to Shs 202bn. This was mainly as a result of a 10% interest paid at end of 2011/12 financial year.

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