Friday August 11 2017

NIC unfit to offer retirement benefit services, says URBRA

By Christine Kasemiire


The Uganda Retirement Benefits Regulatory Authority (URBRA) has rendered NIC Life Assurance Company unfit to offer retirement benefit services.
In a statement released in the media by the retirement benefits regulator yesterday, NIC Life Assurance Company is not authorised as a retirement benefits service provider in the country under Sections 40 and 47(1) of the URBRA Act, 2011.
Act 40 of the URBRA Act provides that a person shall not act as a trustee of a retirement benefits scheme unless he or she has a licence issued in accordance with this Act.
Act 47 (1) says: “A person shall not act as an administrator of a retirement benefits scheme unless he or she has a licence issued in accordance with this Act.”
“If an institution is not licensed, we warn them first and it is what we have done for NIC. NIC has not met the compliance and licensing issues that is why we have come out to warn the public,” Mr Martin Nsubuga, director supervision at URBRA said.
When contacted, Ms Pamela Abonyu, head of corporate communications at NIC, said the company trustees had not been registered individually which is a requirement of registration under the URBRA Act.
However, the trustees have since then registered and the documents been submitted to URBRA.
“It is unfortunate that this happened. But we have submitted our documents and continue engaging URBRA to ensure these issues are finalised. We are now waiting for URBRA’s certification,” she said.

NIC response
In a statement, NIC Life Assurance, said: “Upon the coming into force of the URBRA Act, NIC applied and was duly licensed by URBRA both as administrator and as corporate trustee.
“The licence was renewed at expiration of the term, but upon further application for renewal of the licenses, URBRA outlined a number of requirements and conditions to be met before the licenses would be renewed.”
The statement added: “NIC Life was in the process of meeting the licensing requirements when URBRA advised that no further action would be taken in respect of NIC Life’s applications until the Company’s independent in-house staff scheme is licensed.”
Mr Nsubuga, however, said URBRA for now, will not ‘go to great lengths’ and that this is merely a warning. “Conviction or penalty will come in case of failure by NIC to take any action towards registration,” he said.

Acquiring a licence
Act 48 (1) of the URBRA Act states that an application for a licence to act as an administrator shall be in the prescribed form and shall:
a) state whether the applicant has the adequate professional, technical knowledge, experience or operational ability to perform the functions of an administrator;
b) contain or be accompanied by any other information that the Authority may require for the purpose of determining the application;
c. contain the address of a place in Uganda for the service on the applicant of any notice or document required or authorized to be served on the applicant under this Act; and
d. be accompanied by the prescribed fee.