Apart from an economic downturn, the Covid-19 pandemic has also triggered an upsurge in new enrolments, along with contributions towards various schemes administered by India`s pension fund regulator.
The rush of new subscribers and their contribution towards schemes such as the National Pension System (NPS) and the Atal Pension Yojana (APY) have augmented the overall Assets Under Management of the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA).
From March till September 26, there was an almost 18 per cent growth in the AUM.
“We see a definite growth pattern in the number of new subscribers. This has risen to about 16 per cent growth. As far as the contribution flow is concerned, we have witnessed contributions growing anything between 20 to 25 per cent,” PFRDA Chairman Supratim Bandyopadhyay told IANS.
“This means that new subscriber numbers are growing, the contributions from them, as well as the existing members are growing. So at least, this pandemic has not brought it down.”
According to Bandyopadhyay, the rise in new enrolments, especially from the corporate side, has been triggered in part due to the pandemic which has led to the realisation for sound savings and better options for future financial security.
“More and more people are going for or thinking about creating a corpus for their future,” he said.
“The pandemic and the uncertainty associated with it has given rise to this thought, thereby many decided to create assets for their future.”
Besides, he pointed out that more corporates are providing options to their employees to enrol in the NPS.
“They (corporates) are shifting their superannuation funds. This is a very strong trend that we have seen over the last five to six months,” he elaborated.
“Beyond the June, July, we have seen a lot of growth, but our sector, pensions especially, is at a very nascent stage. So more than pent-up demand, maybe newer customers are getting attracted towards our products.”
Furthermore, the regulator is planning to come out with a RFP to on-board fund manager with a revised fee structure.
At present, the PFRDA has seven fund managers.
“We want to bring in new talent and we are also giving them not only a fund management license, but if they wish, they can take another license for distribution. So, now they can have two verticals,” he said.
“Currently, four of our fund managers have the POP (Point of Presence) – distributors of NPS. Two of them are doing very well. We feel that the fund managers are in a better position to explain the details of the product, much better than others.”
In terms of the market movements, he cited that valuations are a little higher for some sectors.
“But, if you see the banking and financial services have not performed at all. So I, this is a time when we see the banking and financial sector will come back in full steam,” he said.
As on September 30, the total number of subscribers under the NPS and the Atal Pension Yojana has crossed 3.73 crore and the AUM has grown to Rs 493,642 crore.
More than 70.20 lakh government employees have been enrolled under the NPS and 24 lakh subscribers have subscribed to the NPS in the private sector with 7,984 entities registered as corporates.