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PenCom’s Framework Simplifies Pension Consumers’ Complaints Resolution

The National Pension Commission (PenCom) issued a Consumer Protection Framework to boost consumer confidence and ensure the effective resolution of complaints within the pension industry. This framework is designed to provide a robust, transparent, and accessible mechanism for addressing consumer complaints.

Complaints in the pension sector are expressions of dissatisfaction from consumers regarding various aspects of pension products or services. These grievances are vital as they highlight areas needing improvement and ensure that consumers’ voices are heard and addressed effectively.

The handling and redress of complaints are pivotal to maintaining consumer trust in the pension industry. The resolution mechanisms in the Consumer Protection Framework are fair, timely, transparent, accessible, and independent, ensuring that every complaint is given due attention and resolved satisfactorily. This process not only addresses individual complaints but also enhances the overall consumer confidence in the industry.

The complaints management process is designed to be simple, efficient, and, where possible, automated to facilitate swift resolution. PFAs are required to establish transparent processes in line with PenCom’s minimum standards for receiving and resolving complaints. Consumers are provided with status updates and tracking numbers for their complaints, ensuring they are kept informed throughout the resolution process.

If a complaint remains unresolved or the consumer is dissatisfied with the resolution, they can escalate the issue to PenCom for reviews of the steps taken by the PFA in addressing the complaint. The purpose is to ensure that the resolution process was effective, transparent, and adequate to engender consumer confidence.

To ensure a high standard of complaint resolution, PenCom mandates that all employees involved in consumer interaction and complaints handling receive appropriate training. This training ensures they possess the necessary skills and knowledge to address consumer concerns effectively while maintaining high customer service standards.
PenCom also sets minimum standards for PFAs regarding the operation of complaints handling channels. These standards are periodically assessed to ensure their effectiveness and adequacy, with comprehensive evaluations conducted to ensure compliance across the industry.

PenCom and PFAs have made multiple avenues available for consumers to lodge their complaints. These channels include dedicated email addresses, telephone numbers, helpdesks, web chat options, and walk-in centres. These channels are designed for easy access, ensuring consumers can lodge complaints without any hindrances.

The personnel manning these channels are trained to handle consumer issues with courtesy and professionalism. Additionally, supervisors overseeing these processes are equipped with the authority and expertise to resolve complaints effectively.
Pension consumers can visit the offices of their PFAs or use channels available on the PFAs’ websites and social media platforms.

However, unresolved complaints by PFAs can be escalated to PenCom through electronic channels, including emails and telephone for review. Email complaints are accepted at [email protected] or [email protected]. In addition, such unsettled complaints can be submitted through its head office in Abuja or zonal offices in Lagos, Kano, Awka, Calabar, Ilorin, and Gombe.

PenCom is committed to enforcing strict compliance with the Consumer Protection Framework. This involves comprehensive examinations of complaints, performance audits, and imposing administrative penalties on PFAs found to be in breach of consumer rights. These enforcement measures are carried out promptly and impartially, reflecting PenCom’s dedication to safeguarding consumer interests.

In conclusion, complaint handling and resolution mechanisms in the pension industry are a testament to PenCom’s commitment to consumer protection. By providing multiple accessible channels, ensuring effective training, and enforcing compliance, PenCom and Pension Fund Operators strive to create a pension industry that is responsive to consumer needs and built on trust and transparency.

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