Worldwide there lies a grand opportunity of increasing accessibility to micropension products. Globally 1.8 billion people are working in the informal sector. All with limited access to pension products. And in 2050 nearly one in five people in developing countries will be over 60, needing financial security.
The world’s first micropension company
In 2016, Enviu and partners launched the world’s first micropension company in Ghana: People’s Pension Trust Ghana. With People’s Pension Trust, workers can build up a micropension by voluntarily contributing daily, weekly or monthly with flexible amounts. Simply by using their phone, bank transfers, or an existing saving group.
The informal sector in Ghana
In Ghana approximately 80% of the population works in the informal sector. Without an employer or registration of income, they do not build up any form of pension. That means 10 million people are not prepared for their retirement.
When their income falls away because of old age, occupational disability, or death, they do not have any savings. After they stop working they have no financial security and depend on others or fall into poverty.
Saving for the future is not just a personal investment, but also a generational one. And eventually a societal one. It allows people to send their children to school instead of having to support their parents. Pensions hereby help to break the poverty cycle.
In the next 40 years the share of Ghanaians over 60 years old will double from 7% to 15%. Even more people will fall in the gap.
Slowly, but surely changing the system
In a system unfavourable to the informal sector, it is natural for people to be weary. For People’s Pension Trust to work, and benefit those in the informal sector, the mindset of consumers concerning saving and trust had to be adjusted.
Financial education is key. Clients needed to see the relevance of a pension for them, that it is not a product only for the elite. For many it was an eye-opener when shown that saving for a large sum of money can be made concrete and achievable when done every day or week.
Since their start, People’s Pension has been in constant conversation with existing institutes surrounding pensions in Ghana. The Ghanaian law concerning micropension products when the company started was focused on large, existing pension organisations, not on start-ups.
During discussions about setting up People’s Pension Trust in Ghana, a lot of room was created for the company by the regulator. The Ghanaian regulator is very open to learn. Samuel Waterberg, People Pension Trust’s CEO, has been asked to join the advisory board for improving pension regulations for the informal sector in Ghana.
It is all these steps together which change the pension system People’s Pension Trust is operating in. This encourages growth of the market as the soil is prepared for new micropension funds to start. Already one competitor, Old Mutual, has entered the market in Ghana for pensions in the informal sector.
Including more people in the pension sector, means more assets are being built up in the country. This increases stability in Ghana’s financial market and helps to stimulate growth in their economy.
People’s Pension Holding: Replicating the model of People’s Pension Trust globally
Enviu has already run feasibility studies and pilots in India to replicate the model of People’s Pension Trust globally. Other African countries are next on the list.
This is possible because Enviu set up People’s Pension Holding. Activities such as human resources, marketing, and sales are divided between the holding company and the venture. A holding company functions as an umbrella under which new ventures are developed without distracting the entrepreneurial team, but building on their experiences