Nigeria’s pension fund assets are expected to hit the N20 trillion mark by 2023, pan-African credit rating agency, Agusto & Co. has predicted.
The Nigerian pension industry, according to the firm, has evolved from one with predominantly public sector participants running a defined benefit scheme to a mandatory defined contribution system for all government and private sector employees.
The 2004 pension reform redefined retirement planning in Nigeria and drove a significant growth in the number of enrollees and the size of managed assets in the industry.
As at December 31, 2020, the Nigerian Pension Industry’s assets under management (AuM) stood at N12.3 trillion ($32.3 billion). This represented a 20.6 per cent growth over the N10.2 trillion reported at the end of 2019 and a 18.3 per cent compound annual growth rate over the last five years.
In its newly released 2021 Pension Industry report, Agusto & Co. noted that the growth in the industry’s managed assets has been largely driven by investment returns and additional contributions, to a lesser extent.
In particular, over the last five years, the industry’s annual contributions have averaged N699 billion while withdrawals have averaged about N341 billion, translating to a net annual contribution of N347 billion and accounting for 26.6 per cent of the industry’s AuM growth over the period.
The remaining 73.4 per cent of average growth was attributable to investment returns earned on the portfolios.
The pension transfer window opened on 16 November 2020 to allow pension retirement saving account (RSA) holders switch Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) once a year at most and at no cost.
As at the end of the second quarter of 2021 (less than nine months after the transfer window opened), over 25,600 RSA holders with pension assets over N102.5 billion were reported to have changed PFAs.
The report said: “We expect that in the subsequent quarters of 2021, the number of transfers will rise further as more enrollees become aware of the transfer process. In addition, we expect competition to intensify in the pension industry as PFAs seek to attract new enrollees while retaining existing ones.
“Nonetheless, we expect the industry’s structure to remain relatively unchanged in the short-to-medium term with the top five players leading on the back of good market presence and strong brand recognition.”
Going forward, Agusto & Co. envisaged continuous growth in pension assets supported by increased participation on the back of the country’s favourable demography of young adults and rising yields in money market instruments.
“We expect an improvement in the performance of the industry as operators compete for higher return on investments, improved customer service and use of technology for operational efficiency,” Agusto & Co. said, projecting that the industry will record an average growth rate of 18 per cent in line with the five-year average growth rate of 18 per cent in the next three years leading to 2023.