Zamara Group has called on pension industry players to work more closely and aggressively to instill a healthy saving culture among Kenyans.
Addressing more than 500 delegates drawn from 100 retirement schemes Zamara Group Chief Executive Officer, Sundeep Raichura warned that retirement was low on the priority list for most Kenyans who focus more on other immediate financial challenges such as education, funding homes and providing for medical emergencies.
“Our pension system is heavily borrowed from the west with a sole emphasis on saving for retirement,” said Mr Raichura . “We really need to debate whether it would make more sense to stretch our existing pension’s framework to include expanded savings objectives such as saving for housing and education and also create an avenue for some short-term saving for emergencies.”
He said the growth in pension assets has had a positive impact on the country’s national savings and capital markets and called on the authorities to provide incentives. “We are not suggesting that we put 50% of our money into alternative assets, but a modest exposure of 5% – 10% over a period of time makes sense for many of the larger funds,” he added.
The Zamara CEO challenged the trustees to take up a seat at the Big 4 Agenda by actively participating in the discussions and make their viewpoints felt.
The two-day conference whose theme was “healthy schemes, healthy members and healthy nation” addressed critical questions on what trustees and service providers should do to impact the financial and retirement security of members. The pension assets have grown over the years and currently stand at Ksh1.2 trillion mark with individual funds growing in size too.