Govt Pushing for Pension Plan Regulations to be In Place Early 2020

This is according to Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Senator the Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr., who moved the Pensions (Superannuation Funds and Retirement Schemes) (Investment) (Amendment) Regulations, 2019 in the Upper House on Friday (Aug. 2). The regulations, which were approved by the Senate, were adopted by the House of Representatives in July. Regulatory amendments, aimed at strengthening the legislative framework to safeguard the assets of pension plans, are expected to be in place by early next year.This is according to Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Senator the Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr., who moved the Pensions (Superannuation Funds and Retirement Schemes) (Investment) (Amendment) Regulations, 2019 in the Upper House on Friday (Aug. 2).The regulations, which were approved by the Senate, were adopted by the House of Representatives in July.“Target dates have been set. I know Minister (of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel) Clarke is pushing for them to be done by this year and I would say at latest the early quarter of 2020,” Senator Charles Jr. said.He noted that the amendments, which also aim to broaden the range of permissible assets in which pension plans can be invested, are “critical regulations underpinning this Government’s thrust towards macroeconomic stability.”“As the macro-economic environment in Jamaica has improved and as the Government’s appetite for debt has gone down, pension funds now have assets that they need to invest. The scope of their options and opportunities have, however, been constrained. These regulations are intended to release those constraints while contributing to economic growth,” he said.Senator Charles Jr. noted that the amendments, proposed by the Financial Services Commission (FSC), which is the regulator for the private pension industry, as well as the means of execution “were well researched, and carefully considered.”“These amendments …are perceived to be modest, and the increased risks should be manageable,” he said.The regulations require each pension plan to develop an investment policy and mandates investment managers to invest pension fund assets in a manner consistent with the individual plan’s investment policy, the governing legislation and the regulations.Among other assets, pension plans will now be permitted to invest in bonds issued by companies that have an investment grade rating from a recognised rating agency; and bonds issued by companies listed on the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE).Additionally, pension plans will be able to invest in equity or debt of private companies established under the laws of Jamaica, provided that in aggregate, these amounts do not exceed a maximum of five per cent of the assets of the pension fund. This will allow pension funds to invest in private equity and venture capital for the first time.The amendments will provide higher return investment opportunities for pension funds, while improving access to finance, deepening capital markets and providing options for financing outside of the banking sector. Regulatory amendments, aimed at strengthening the legislative framework to safeguard the assets of pension plans, are expected to be in place by early next year. Story Highlights read more

Parents and Guardians Encouraged to Reintroduce Morning Routine Now

In preparation for the start of the 2019/2020 school year, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Parenting Support Commission (NPSC), Kaysia Kerr, is encouraging parents and guardians to reintroduce the morning routine to their children from now.“They should not wait until the first morning of school or the night before to start putting children back into the routine which would have been broken during the summer holidays,” she told JIS News in an interview.Ms. Kerr said the children would have become used to staying up later or sleeping later or both, and this would have disturbed the sleep pattern, so parents and guardians should start easing their child into getting into bed early and waking up earlier for the start of the new school year.“Not only should they ensure that sleep habits return, but the entire routine of getting out of the house must be considered. Start looking at breakfast ideas; children do not want the same thing every day, especially the smaller ones. This will become mundane,” she noted.“So, we have to start thinking of various healthy options. When persons are rushing out, sometimes breakfast is compromised in terms of the nutritional value, so what we want is the children to get a good start with a healthy meal,”Ms. Kerr added. She is also imploring parents and guardians to be present at orientation to ask all the right questions, air concerns and meet with as many teachers as possible, and the principal if possible.“If your child has special requirements, these discussions must be had early, for example, a student who may require preferential seating, or assistive devices in order for them to function,” she explained.Ms. Kerr pointed out that when school and home partner, children perform better, social behaviour improves or they maintain the good standard that is set at home and the standards that are expected at school. Therefore, parents should ensure that as they prepare for back-to-school, they also have a mindset to work with the schools.She is also encouraging parents and guardians to create networks. “The same way the children are going to make new friends, you should want to meet the parents. Start the process of fellowshipping with other parents, so when things are going bad there are others who can lend support,” Ms. Kerr said.Child safety is always a big concern for the NPSC, so Ms. Kerr said parents should ensure that schools have their correct address and current telephone contacts at all times. Children should also know their address and the telephone contacts of their caregivers.“Let the children know the importance of being vigilant, especially when they are commuting on public transportation. If there is a part of the commute that involves walking, encourage the child to walk in groups and if walking alone, they should be vigilant of the surroundings. They should walk briskly and with purpose, don’t look as though he or she is idling, because then the child will become prey to those persons who are in the business of hurting children,” she said.In addition, Ms. Kerr said children must be advised how they engage strangers and even adults they believe to be responsible or adults they know.“We encourage open and honest conversation, so when a child speaks about an encounter which leaves them uncomfortable, it is important that you not only listen but you also investigate with a view to act,” she added.Back-to-school also has it financial pressures, so parents and guardians should seek out where it is possible to get items, such as second-hand books.“Do not get too caught up in getting the name-brand, instead look for the sturdiest bag that will last longer. In many instances the brand names that we see are fake and, therefore, the quality is not there. Therefore, choose quality over what is socially acceptable,” she urged.Ms. Kerr said parents’ involvement in their child’s school should not be limited to Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) meetings. “This is something that we want to drive home. Parents should look at opportunities/avenues that they can serve the school,” she emphasised. “They should not wait until the first morning of school or the night before to start putting children back into the routine which would have been broken during the summer holidays,” she told JIS News in an interview. Story Highlights Ms. Kerr said the children would have become used to staying up later or sleeping later or both, and this would have disturbed the sleep pattern, so parents and guardians should start easing their child into getting into bed early and waking up earlier for the start of the new school year. In preparation for the start of the 2019/2020 school year, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Parenting Support Commission (NPSC), Kaysia Kerr, is encouraging parents and guardians to reintroduce the morning routine to their children from now. read more