In order to expand the reach of National Pension System (NPS) and encourage independent and effective distribution channels, the pension fund regulator has notified new norms for Point of Presence (PoP). The new norms replaces the 2015 regulations.
The PoPs are the the principal distributive points for NPS and they will be responsible for receiving and processing all subscriber requests. They will receive filled application form along with Know Your Customer (KYC) documentation and conduct customer due diligence procedures as required under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. They will also help subscribers if they put in a request for shift from one PoP to another PoP.
As on July 31, 2018 there are 11,758469 NPS subscribers with assets under management of Rs 2,50,758 crore. While the bulk of the subscribers are central and state government employees, the number of corporate and unorganised sector subscribers is growing fast because of additional tax breaks.
Collection of contributions
The PoP will be responsible for collecting and transmitting the initial contribution made by subscribers at the time of opening of an individual pension account and subsequent contributions made by them to the trustee bank on T+1 basis. They will also send the subscriber registration form and supporting documents to the central record keeping agencies—NSDL e-governance Infrastructure Ltd and Karvy Computershare.
The PoPs will also transfer the contributions received from the subscriber to the NPS Trust account maintained with the trustee bank and upload the subscriber contribution files with the CRA. If a subscriber puts withdrawal request, the PoP will be responsible for receiving and processing it.
If the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) cancels the registration of a PoP, then it will have to transfer all data, documents and money which have not been transferred to the trustee bank of subscribers to any other PoP authorised by the regulator. According to the new regulations, each PoP will ensure that all matters related to pension schemes including maintenance of accounts and flow of funds are maintained separately for other business activities.
Charges of PoP
The new regulations underline that a PoP will not collect any extra charges other than that specified/directed by the PFRDA. Last year, the regulator introduced a persistency charge, under which a PoP will receive an incentive of Rs 50 per account per year for every account which continues to contribute a minimum of `1,000 in a financial year. The persistency charge will be paid by the subscriber and the amount will be deducted through cancellation of units.
Last year, the regulator also increased initial subscriber registration charges from Rs 125 to Rs 200, to be collected upfront. For subsequent contributions to e-NPS, the charges have been doubled to 0.10% of the contribution—minimum of Rs10 and maximum of Rs 10,000. This will be applicable for Tier I and Tier II accounts. Both initial subscriber registration and contribution charges are collected upfront by the PoPs. For non e-NPS subscribers, the PoP charge is for contribution is 0.25% of the amount subscribed, subject to minimum of Rs 20 and a maximum of Rs 25,000 and is collected upfront.
The PoP will be responsible for receiving grievances of subscribers and upload then into the centralised grievance management system. The PoP will not collect personal information relating to a subscriber in excess of what is required for the provision of pension scheme. It has to maintain confidentiality of the information and not disclose it to a third-party. A PoP will also have to ensure that subscribers can obtain reasonable access to their personal information.
If the PoP fails to adhere to the service level standards as per the new norms, causing loss or inconvenience, then it will be liable to compensate the subscriber. PoPs will have to maintain absolute confidentiality in all records, data and information. Experts say such a clause in the Gazette notification will help subscribers and ensure the practices of PoPs are efficient and transparent.