For the effective administration of a pension scheme, every interested party must play their part by the rules and principles governing the scheme. The members of the scheme are a key sect that must be represented on the board to protect and carry out their interest in the management of the scheme.
This week, we had a tete a tete with Mr. Philip Addo, the member nominated trustee for the PPT Provident Fund Scheme. As a member in good standing since 2016, he shares with us his objectives as a board member and proposes interesting ways of promoting inclusion, especially in the informal sector.
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Philip Addo, I am a middle-aged man and I hold a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and History from the University of Ghana. Currently, I am the Administrator/Accountant of Pentecost International Worship Center, Kokomlemle, a Christian organization. I am a Ghanaian and married. I speak English, Ga, Twi, and a little Krobo and Ada.
The Regulator, NPRA allows the inclusion of at least one member of the scheme on the board, and that member happens to be you. What does this position mean to you?
I deem this position a huge responsibility. And when one is given such a role, it should not be taken lightly, I believe. It is both an honor and a privilege to serve in this capacity, and I must do it with caution and trust. The roles and responsibilities entrusted to my care must be handled well according to the provisions and the general principles and laws governing the trust. At an appointed time, I will be held accountable for the work assigned to me.
The documents I received from the trust spell out the duties of the trustee, and some of the things that shook me were the offenses and penalties for not undertaking my duties well as a trustee. This means that there are consequences to face when work assigned to me is not well executed. In effect, I have to do this work with care, diligence, and prudence so that at the set time, I will be awarded ‘good and faithful servant’.
I am also happy about the fact that my input on the board will impact people’s lives in their retirement. And that is a credit to me. Once I serve on the board, it’s my prayer that with the help of the Almighty God my skills and abilities, and also, sharing ideas on the board, will go a long way to improve the work that has been entrusted to our care.
As a layperson serving on the board in an Industry where there are still some misconceptions in people’s minds, have you learned anything significantly new about a pension that you didn’t know hitherto?
This is a new role I am assuming and as such, looking forward to learning more as I progress. I have an educational policy for my daughter and I was able to sign my late parents on to a funeral policy. So when they passed on, the insurance company gave me all the benefits due within a short time. I am also a member of the scheme and contribute promptly. I am certain that I will also receive my benefits in my retirement.
I know that my money is being invested well and I’m assured that the funds are in good hands. As trustees, we are supposed to ensure that the money is being invested at the right places to guarantee that the members of the scheme get what is due to them in retirement. Being on the scheme has emphasized, the importance of putting money aside for inevitable events.
In your service on the board so far, have you noticed any areas of concern in the pension space you will like to be refined?
I joined the board not too long ago, I am still learning the ropes and making observations as we progress. I’m focused on noting the areas of concern that will come up so we address them together as aboard. As it stands now, I am satisfied with what I am privy to so far. At most of the meetings, the response received from the Management Team on submission of all relevant documents to the NPRA is positive so I do not have any complaints.
What would you recommend we do to encourage people/companies to sign up for the same product you are on?
Once you have covered the markets and other places where there are a lot of informal sector workers, I would advise that you extend your reach even further to the remote villages and towns, because the little that we contribute will yield a lot in the future. This would mean opening your arms wide and intensifying publicity campaigns so we can get a lot of people on board.
Also, we need to ensure that all our processes and feedback systems are in order. When a member makes a payment, an alert should be received immediately. This will encourage the contributor to know that his/her contributions have been acknowledged.
What impact do you hope to make on the board during your tenure of service?
I am still in the process of reviewing the Mission and Vision statements of the Company to see how exactly I can positively impact the company’s activities. As soon as I am done with that, it will be made known to the team; but I am positive that my contribution will be geared towards the attainment of the company’s Mission and Vision.
Any closing remarks?
Because the future is unknown to us, we need to plan for it at every point in time. Even if we do not benefit, our children/relatives will. I, therefore, encourage the young ones to really take investment/insurance seriously and save towards their future, so that at the retirement stage of life when one cannot do any kind of rigorous work, one can still enjoy peace of mind as he relies on investment/insurance proceeds to fend for himself.
Indeed representation ensures that all voices are heard and all interests are served. We are grateful to Mr. Addo for his immeasurable service to the board.
Pension Weekly - Edition 21 - June 2021
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