First Pension Gets CBN, Pencom Nod To Acquire 100% Stake In Access Custodian

The boards of FBN Holdings Plc and Access Holdings Plc, at the midweek announced through the Nigerian Exchange Limited portal, a definitive agreement for acquisition of the entire share capital of Access Pension Fund Custodian Limited by First Pension Custodian.

The parties, noted in their separate filings by Sunday Ekwochi and Adewale Arogundade (acting), company secretaries of Access Holdings and FBN Holdings respectively, that they have received the required “no objection” to the transaction by the National Pension Commission (Pencom) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

With the eventual acquisition of Access Pension Custodian, formerly Diamond Pension Custodian, following the acquisition of Diamond Bank by the then Access Bank, seven players will be left in that segment of the pension industry. Others are UBA Nominee, Stanbic Nominee, Zenith Pension Custodian, FCMB Nominee, Nigeria International Bank Nominees Limited, and Standard Chartered Nominees Limited, according to information on the CBN website.

Pencom on its own website, according to findings by Investdata News listed only for companies licenced to engage in pension custodial services in Nigeria, along with their Managing Directors and corporate offices. They are: Access Pension Fund Custodian Limited, First Pension Custodian Nigeria Limited, UBA Pension Custodian Limited, and Zenith Pension Custodian Limited.

According to Pencom, PFCs “are responsible for keeping safe custody of pension assets on trust on behalf of contributors. The main functions of PFCs are to receive pension contributions on behalf of PFAs; settle transactions and undertake activities relating to the administration of pension fund investments on behalf of PFAs and to notify the PFA within 24 hours of the receipt of pension contributions from employers.

It stipulates that a PFC can only be wholly owned by “a licensed financial institution with specified net worth as may be determined by the Commission from time to time. In addition, the parent company must issue a guarantee to the full value of pension assets held by the PFC.”

As part of Pencom’s requirement for a custodian licence, the owner-financial institution(s) must have “a/combined minimum net worth of N25bn unimpaired by losses.”

Recall that Investdata News had on February 10, 2017, reported the receipt of all regulatory approval by Access Bank to sell its 17.65% equity stake in Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers Limited to the company’s majority shareholder- Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc, “in compliance with the CBN Regulation on the Scope of Banking Activities  and Ancillary Matters. No. 3, 2010.