Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority

Find out how the PFRDA works to protect your pension interests.
PFRDA
4 min
10-May-2024

The Indian government has introduced various programmes to ensure financial security and a stable monthly pension for the elderly. PFRDA is a crucial part of this drive to enjoy a robust pension ecosystem. The full form of PFRDA is the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority. PFRDA was established with the aim to regulate, promote, and develop the national pension ecosystem in India, ensuring transparency, accountability, and security.

Also read: Atal Pension Yojana eligibility

Functions of the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFDRA)

PFRDA is responsible for regulating the NPS ecosystem. According to PFRDA preamble, the organisation aims to ‘promote old-age income security by establishing, developing, and regulating pension funds’ such that the interest of each subscriber is protected. Headquartered in New Delhi with regional offices around the country, PFRDA performs the following functions:

  • PFRDA oversees the National Pension System (Tier 1 and Tier 2 accounts) to protect the interest of NPS subscribers.
  • Promote pension plans in India by fostering both mandatory and voluntary pension schemes to meet the needs of old age retirees.
  • Educating pension scheme subscribers and the general public on issues pertaining to pensions, retirement savings, etc.
  • The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority is responsible for registering and regulating intermediaries like pension fund managers, CRAs, Trustee Banks, Points of Presence, etc.
  • Address grievances regarding pension schemes.
  • Resolving issues between various intermediaries as well as between intermediaries and subscribers.
  • Training intermediaries on various pension schemes to improve knowledge dissemination.

Also read: IGNOAPS

What is the PFRDA Act 2013

The IPRDA or Interim Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority was established on 23rd August 2003 with a government resolution. The IPRDA was the forerunner to the PFRDA. The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Act was finally passed on 19th September 2013 with the President’s assent. This resulted in the formation of PFRDA, an authority designated with the responsibility to regulate and manage the pension sector in India.

Also read: EPS

Intermediaries under PFRDA

PFRDA performs its functions by appointing and training various intermediaries to streamline organisation, collection, distribution, management, and record-keeping functions.

Here is an overview of the intermediaries under PFRDA.

1. Central record-keeping agency

Under PFRDA, the Central Record-Keeping Agency or CRA is responsible for record-keeping, administration, and offering customer support to all NPS subscribers. The National Securities Depository Limited e-governance Infrastructure Limited and Karvy Computershare Private Limited are the two CRAs appointed by PFRDA. CRAs perform the following functions:

  • Issue PRAN cards to each subscriber and maintain the PRAN database.
  • Manage subscriber contributions and update intermediaries of the same.
  • Act as an operational intermediary between PFRDA and other entities.
  • Oversee the settlement of funds invested and the distribution of units to subscribers.
  • Periodically update the PRAN database and offer a centralised grievance redressal system to subscribers.

2. Pension funds

Appointed PFs are responsible for managing the retirement savings of subscribers under NPS. They are appointed to invest the corpus in securities and manage them. PFs under PFRDA perform the following functions:

  • Investment of subscriber contribution according to PFRDA guidelines.
  • Maintain investment records on the flow of funds.
  • Drafting the portfolio of subscribers opting for the auto-allocation options.
  • Updating PFRDA on a regular basis.

3. Point of presence agencies

PoPs are public-facing entities that are authorised to offer various services to NPS subscribers. Registered PoPs have authorised PoP-Service Provider (PoP-SP) branches and offer the following services to subscribers:

  • Analyse KYC documents of NPS subscribers
  • Collect NPS contributions in the form of cash, DD, or cheques.
  • Deduct and collect NPS application fees.
  • Upload contribution files on the CRA system.
  • Maintain records of transactions.
  • Handle subscriber grievances.

4. Trustee banks

Under PRFDA regulations, the trustee bank is responsible for handling the flow of funds between the different intermediaries. Axis Bank is the designated trustee bank for NPS and performs the following functions:

  • Receive funds from the different regional and zonal offices in the country.
  • Verify details about the amount paid.
  • Return fund transfers with discrepancy to the CRA.
  • Consolidate all funds received under NPS to prepare Fund Receipt Information.
  • Transfer funds as per CRA instructions.
  • Reconcile daily balance sheets with the CRA.  

5. Custodian

The custodian is responsible for keeping custody of the NPS securities in demat form in the name of the NPS Trust. Currently, the Deutsche Bank AG serves as the NPS custodian, performing the following functions:

  • Maintain custody of the assets held in the NPS Trust name.
  • Collect benefits on assets like dividends, bonuses, etc.
  • Act as a domestic depository.
  • Maintain records of service.

6. Nodal offices

Nodal offices play a significant role in spreading NPS benefits to the grassroots levels. Central and state government nodal offices interact with the CRA on behalf of the subscriber. They also manage subscriber records, ensure compliance, and offer complaint registration and grievance redressal services to subscribers.

7. Aggregator

Aggregators are the first point of contact between the subscriber and the NPS ecosystem under the NPS Lite (Swavalamban Scheme). They are responsible for making changes to the KYC information of the subscriber, as and when needed. Aggregators also register complaints and grievances against PFRDA intermediaries.  

Online services of PFRDA

The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority offers a range of online services to help simplify retirement planning and pension fund management for the common man. Here is a list of online services offered by PFRDA:

  • Opening NPS accounts online
  • Contributions towards PRAN accounts (excluding APY and NPS Swavalamban)
  • Modifications to the subscriber’s basic details
  • Modifications to the NPS investment strategy
  • NPS Tier 2 account activation
  • Download transaction statements
  • Register exit/withdrawal requests
  • File a grievance
  • e-PRAN printing

Conclusion

The primary goal of PFRDA is to ensure the creation of a secured and well-regulated pension ecosystem. With various intermediaries and a thorough system of checks and balances, PFRDA aims to promote transparency and efficiency in retirement planning and pension fund management.

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Frequently asked questions

What is the role of PFRDA?

PFRDA regulates NPS and is responsible for the growth and development of the pension sector in India.

Which companies are under the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority?

At present, there are 14 empanelled ASPs (Annuity Service Providers) under PFRDA. SBI Life Insurance Co. Ltd., ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Co. Ltd, Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance Company Limited, and HDFC Life Insurance Co. Ltd. are some of the empanelled ASPs.

Is Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority a statutory body?

Yes. PFRDA is a statutory body established by an Act of Parliament passed in 2013.

Where is the headquarter of PFRDA?

PFRDA is headquartered in New Delhi. However, the statutory body also has regional headquarters around the country.

Which ministry department is PFRDA under?

PFRDA functions under the Ministry of Finance, Government of India.

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