EPFO raises concerns on new PF investment norms

Written by Surabhi Rastogi | Surabhi | New Delhi | Updated: Jul 22 2014, 14:28pm hrs
EPFOEPFO is set to oppose the finance ministry?s plan to revamp the investment norms for pension and PF. (Reuters)
The countrys largest retirement fund manager is set to oppose the finance ministrys plan to revamp the investment norms for pension and provident funds that aim to give them more play in equities.

The Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has set up an internal committee to study the implications of the proposed investment pattern and has also sought comments from stakeholders including fund managers of the EPFO as well as exempt PF trusts on the issue.

We will be submitting our comments on the proposed norms but we have significant concerns that will be sent to the finance ministry, said a senior official.

The finance ministry last month had proposed a new investment pattern for pension and PFs, under which only up to 40 per cent of the corpus would be invested in government securities.

Another 40 per cent can be invested in corporate bonds, while as much as 30 per cent of the kitty can be put in equity markets as well as exchange traded funds and index funds as well.

But this has not gone down well with the risk averse EPFO, that is of the view that there should not be two separate investment categories of exchange traded funds and equities. These should instead be clubbed together as they are not radically different classes of investment, said the official.

Though the EPFO finally adopted the 2009 pattern of investment for pension and PF trusts last year, it has firmly kept away from using the 15 per cent window for equity investments.

The EPFO, which along with exempt PF trusts has a corpus of over Rs 10 lakh crore, will be most impacted by the new norms that are likely to come into effect from April 1, 2015.

The retirement fund manager has also contended that the proposed pattern has completely ignored the recommendations of the GN Bajpai committee that suggested moving to more prudent investment choices from the current regulations.

The basic thought of the Bajpai committee has been ignored that called for giving complete freedom to insurance and pension funds for deciding their investment patterns, the official said.