By Sola Alabadan / Senior Correspondent
The Pension Funds Operators Association of Nigeria (PenOp) has counseled pension operators to institutionalise the process of identifying and dealing with conflict of interests’ scenarios in addition to the Codes and Guidelines provided by the National Pension Commission (PenCom).
To manage conflict of interests, the operators were advised to put in place a proper process for identifying and dealing with conflict of interest scenarios and institutionalising same.
PenOp stated that “These processes and policies are reflective of the organisation’s ethics and should be tailored to work within existing structure of the organisation. The policies should provide clear direction to staff and the following questions can act as a guide in drawing up a conflict of interest policy: What is a Conflict of Interest? How do I identify a Conflict of Interest? and what do I do when I identify a Conflict of Interest situation?
The policy would also need to clearly define the roles of all staff members in handling conflicts of interest issues as well as the roles of line and senior management, especially the Compliance Officer. The policy should also indicate how issues of conflicts of interest involving senior or executive management and Board members should be dealt with, PenOp further noted.
The association emphasised that “One of the ways to entrench the culture of identification of conflicts is to encourage a culture of disclosure within the workforce and educating the workforce. Best practices often dictate that this disclosure is done at the point of joining the organisation and thereafter on an annual basis.”
The proper identification and management of conflict of interests ensures objectivity and impartiality in the internal dealings of an organisation, PenOp added.
In accordance with the Code of Ethics and Business Practices for Licensed Pension Operators issued by PenCom, “conflict of interest” may exist whenever the interests of a director or staff conflict in any way with the interests of the Pension Fund Administrator (PFA) or Pension Fund Custodian (PFC).
While directors and staff should be free to make personal investments and enjoy social relations and normal business courtesies, they must not have any interests that adversely influence the performance of their responsibilities.
Staff of PFAs and PFCs are therefore required to avoid all situations in which their private interests, whether pecuniary or otherwise, conflict or have the potential to conflict with their duty.
They should not place themselves in a position whereby they are morally obliged to accord preferential treatment or special consideration to any person or entity.
Source : Independent