The Review of the BOFIA 2020

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The “Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act” 2020 (“BOFIA 2020” or “ the New Act”) was signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari on 13 November 2020 and repeals the extant BOFIA 1991 (as-amended in 1997,1998, 1999 and 2002).

The BOFIA 2020 introduces and amends major provisions that govern the activities of banks, specialised banks and other financial institutions, reflecting the evolution of the Nigerian financial sector over the last three decades. The Act, among other things, seeks to strengthen regulatory oversight and increase investor confidence in the financial sector.

The Review of the BOFIA 2020 Brandspurng

The BOFIA 2020 has six major new provisions. These new provisions include sections on the creation of a new banking sector resolution fund, the creation of a new tribunal for the enforcement and recovery of eligible loans and closure of banks during strikes, epidemic or pandemic.

The other new provisions include sections on restrictions on operations of banking agents, cybersecurity and netting arrangements.

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The Review of the BOFIA 2020 Brandspurng1

The Establishment of a Banking Sector Resolution Fund

Without prejudice to the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) Act, the BOFIA 2020 establishes a banking sector resolution fund (“the Resolution Fund”), which will function as a bridge bank. The resolution fund will be floated by the CBN, the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) and the banking industry.

At the start of the Resolution Fund, the CBN and the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) will be expected to contribute the sum of ₦10 billion and ₦4 billion respectively (or such amount as the Board of the CBN may determine) on the first business day in each calendar year.

Also, from the commencement date, an annual levy of an amount equivalent to 10 basis points (or as determined by the CBN) of the total assets of banks, specialised banks and other financial institutions as at the date of its audited financial statements for the preceding year will be paid on the commencement date and on or before the 30th day of April in each subsequent calendar year following the commencement date.

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The formation of a bridge bank in the context that is proposed by the Banking Sector Resolution Fund will bring some level of stability to the financial services sector in Nigeria.

However, we remain cautiously optimistic on the anticipated success of the initiative, especially considering that the current AMCON project has performed below expectations. We recognise the negative impact this development will have on the banking Industry’s profits due to an envisaged rise in regulatory induced costs which currently account for an estimated 15% of the banking industry’s total operating expenses.

The initiative could also create a moral hazard because access to contributed funds in the event of distress may trigger more risky behaviours by banks.

 The Establishment of a special tribunal for the enforcement and recovery of eligible loans

BOFIA 2020 introduces a credit tribunal to improve the lending landscape and loan recovery activities in the financial system. Contained in Sections 102-132 of the Act, the tribunal will have and exercise jurisdiction on matters pertaining to the enforcement and recovery of eligible loans by banks, specialised banks and other financial institutions.

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It will be involved in matters connected with or pertaining to the enforcement of security or guarantee or attachment on any assets under an eligible loan made by any bank, specialised bank or other financial institutions in Nigeria to its customers.

The risk profile of the lending landscape in Nigeria remains high because of the weak macroeconomic terrain and structural bottlenecks that impede the bankability of businesses. The recovery process on non-performing loans is also challenging since the legal framework is weak, thus constraining the enforcement of contracts.

We believe that the establishment of a special tribunal for the enforcement and recovery of eligible loans will encourage private sector lending in the medium to long term, which is required to achieve the much-needed growth in the Nigeria economy.

 Closure of banks during strikes, epidemic or pandemic

Section 45 of the New Act makes provisions for unforeseen events such as a pandemic or a strike that could result in the inability of a bank, a specialised bank or other financial institutions to open for business.

The law states that no bank, specialised bank or other financial institution will incur any liability to any of its customers by reason only of failure on the part of the bank, specialised bank or other financial institution to open for business during a strike, an epidemic or a pandemic.

The novel coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) and the #Endsars protests that followed almost immediately propelled the need for a provision such as this, which protects the banking industry from the accumulation of liabilities incurred from force majeure events. However, we believe that policy and contract documents may also need to be reviewed to address other challenges that may arise from any unforeseen events.

 Restrictions on operations of agents of banks

BOFIA 2020 empowers the CBN to regulate the operations of agents of banks through guidelines. According to the Act, an agent is described as any person or entity contracted by an institution and approved by the CBN to provide the services of the bank on behalf of the bank in such a manner as may be prescribed by the CBN.

An agent is not permitted to accept any withdrawals by cheque or be a direct member of the Nigeria Bankers Clearing System. In addition, agents are not allowed to accept any deposits above an amount that will be prescribed by the CBN from time to time.  This provision recognises the growing importance and relevance of agents in driving the financial inclusion strategy of the Central Bank of Nigeria in the near term.

The number of banking agents rose from 38,416 in December 2018 to 236,940 agents as of December 2019. Given the growing number of agents, both in the urban and rural areas of the country, it is important that activities of this support segment are well described and regulated to achieve the purpose of their function and prevent fraudulent practices.

 Cybersecurity regulation

According to BOFIA 2020, the CBN may issue regulations and guidelines to the financial sector to address cybersecurity issues in the delivery of financial or banking services.

Cybersecurity is an emerging challenge in the banking industry, given a growing acceptance of technology and a spike in the number of customers added on to various electronic platforms within a short period. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many organisations to adopt various forms of technology without prior planning and testing.

So, while we view positively the improved usage of technology among financial services operators in Nigeria, Agusto & Co. also believes that it comes with heightened risks which need to be monitored and managed to prevent significant losses arising from cyber thefts.

 Netting Agreements

The netting provision in BOFIA 2020 protects netting agreements in the event that a bank or financial institution is wound up.

According to the Act, where the license of a bank or other financial institution is revoked pursuant to the provisions of the Act or is wound up by an order of a court of competent jurisdiction, or a liquidator is appointed for the bank or other financial institution, any provision contained in a written netting agreement to which the bank or other financial institution is a party or any netting rule or practice applicable to the bank or other financial institution shall be binding upon the liquidator. 

We view this development positively particularly with the recent licenses granted by the Securities and Exchange Commissions (SEC) for the establishment of Central Counterparty entities in the Nigerian financial services sector.

The Central Counterparty entities are expected to assume counterparty clearing risks between parties to a transaction and provide clearing and settlement services for trades in foreign exchange, securities, options and derivative contracts.

Read Also:  Suntrust Bank Nigeria Celebrates 3rd Year Anniversary

With this provision, we expect increased confidence and participation especially in the derivatives segment where netting is required in settlements. This will also deepen the financial market in Nigeria in the medium to long term.

 KEY AMENDMENTS ON BOFIA 2020

Under the new Act, some provisions were modified to cover more scenarios. Some sections that previously had one or two subsections were revised to cover more events and regulations. In the paragraphs that follow, we have highlighted eight major provisions that were amended to reflect current realities in the Nigerian financial sector and to strengthen regulatory oversight, going forward.

The amendments cover changes in penalties, minimum capital ratio, opening and closing of branches, display of information, restriction of certain banking activities, failing banks and rescue tools, functions of CBN Examiners and Operations of Foreign banks in Nigeria and offshore banking.

 Penalties

All penalties mentioned in the BOFIA 1991 were revised upwards to accommodate the impact of inflation and devaluation on the domestic currency. BOFIA 2020 charges significant monetary penalties on officials within the financial services sector, which, in our opinion, would encourage accountability, ownership of responsibility and potentially pare back high-risk behaviours.

Financial institutions will also ensure that provisions under this Act are obeyed to minimise charges arising from breaches.

Minimum Capital Ratio

In addition to maintaining minimum capital ratios, the CBN may now prescribe a higher or lower capital adequacy ratio for any category of banks. The CBN may require any bank that has a holding company, a subsidiary or both to calculate and maintain minimum capital ratios on a consolidated basis. 

This is an amendment from the old Act which empowers the CBN to prescribe higher or lower capital ratios at its discretion. For instance, for systemically important banks (SIBs), the CBN had proposed higher capital adequacy ratios above the regulatory minimum to ensure that enough capital is set aside in these big sized banks to absorb unforeseen losses. We note that the proposed capital adequacy ratio for SIBs was never implemented.

Opening and closing branches

This provision includes cash centres and representative offices to the coverage of offices that banks are to obtain consent from CBN before opening or closing. In addition, the six months’ notice period was introduced as a requirement for any bank intending to close any of its branches, outlets or subsidiaries.

We believe that this provision will encourage banks to be more strategic in establishing and shutting down branches and outlets, especially as it regards the potential impact on customers and bank staff.

Display of information

In the BOFIA 1991, this provision was titled “Display of interest rates”. However, this has been expanded to “Display of information”. In the New Act, banks are required to display information at their offices and on their websites (not included in the old Act).

In addition to interest and lending rates, banks are also now required to display foreign exchange rates, certified true copies of certificates of incorporation, and abridged versions of the last approved audited accounts. We believe this provision will enhance transparency and competition in the banking industry.

Restriction on certain banking activities

The BOFIA 2020 prohibits banks, specialised banks or other financial institutions (without the prior approval in writing of the CBN) from granting any unsecured advance, loan or credit facility except it is in line with the regulation on collateralisation as may be issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

We recognise that the banking industry grants short term loans (or overdrafts) to low risk and large conglomerates on a cash flow basis. These credits are granted in repeated cycles, helping the Industry’s profits, especially as interest rates on these loans tend to be slightly higher than longer-tenured credits.

In addition, personal loans such as “payday” loans which are based on expected salary cash flows may be affected by this provision. However, this new provision does raise a few rhetorical questions. What would be the likely implication of this provision on the credit environment in Nigeria given that a considerable volume of credits by the banking industry are unsecured overdrafts?

What implications would this have on operational efficiencies in the loan administration process of financial institutions which will now have to obtain regulatory approval for unsecured lending?

Failing banks and rescue tools

Where a bank is adjudged to have failed under the conditions provided in Section 34 (1), the CBN governor may suspend any payment or delivery obligations pursuant to any contract to which the bank is a party.

This is not contained in the old act. In addition, the governor may transfer the whole bank or only part of the banking business to third party private purchasers or employ any other intervention tool as the CBN may deem fit. The CBN now has powers to acquire the shares of any falling bank up to a level that guarantees its control of the bank.

If everything else fails, and the state of affairs of the bank concerned still does not improve, CBN may invoke its power to revoke the license of the bank.

In the old Act, the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) had the responsibility to take over the control and management of a failing bank and in a worst-case scenario recommend other resolution measures including the revocation of the bank’s license. However, with the BOFIA 2020, the NDIC’s function has been somewhat removed.

With a perceived overlapping mandate between the CBN and the NDIC, there is need for clarity especially in the area of resolution of failing banks where NDIC is known to be the primary actor in the resolution process. We believe that an overlap of regulatory responsibility may lead to inter-agency conflicts, duplication of regulations and ultimately increase ambiguity in the financial sector.

CBN Examiners

In the new Act, the Governor may appoint examiners who shall have the right to attend (as observers) management and board meetings of banks, other financial institutions and specialised banks to which they are assigned. 

We believe that this law somewhat contradicts the efforts made by the regulatory body over the years in terms of corporate governance, which resulted in stronger independent boards and corporate governance structures.

In our opinion, the presence of CBN examiners at these management and board meetings would impair expressiveness and may be counterproductive in the long run. We believe that if this provision remains, it should be applied strictly to banks in financial distress.

Operations of Foreign banks in Nigeria and offshore banking

The CBN may grant to any bank registered in Nigeria or a foreign bank a license to undertake domestic (absent in the old Act) or off-shore banking business within a designated free trade or special economic zone in Nigeria. 

This provision, which is an amendment to the prior, somewhat contradicts an existing law that says licenses to carry on banking business in Nigeria may only be granted to companies duly incorporated in Nigeria. Thus, foreign banks seeking to obtain banking licences in any part of Nigeria including designated free trade or special economic zone should also incorporate a Nigerian subsidiary for that purpose.

Agusto & Co. believes that this provision may place Nigerian banks at a disadvantaged position over the foreign counterparties in the long term.

CONCLUSION

We believe that there are grey areas in the new Act that need to be clarified or amended to achieve the purpose for which the BOFIA was reviewed.

We expect these to be addressed in the near term as certain provisions within the Act are considered to be inimical to initiatives targeted at attracting domestic and foreign investments, promoting industrialisation, developing Nigerian enterprises and generally improving the ease of doing business in Nigeria.

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BR Metals recognised as one of Singapore’s fastest growing companies for the third consecutive year

SINGAPORE - Media OutReach - 25 January 2021 - BR Metals, a leading specialist of precious metals recycling, has been recognised by The Straits Times and Statista as a leading high-growth company in Singapore for the third consecutive year.

 

The Review of the BOFIA 2020 - Brand Spur

BR Metals recovers precious metals from scrap materials like spent catalytic converters and returns on average 80000 troy ounces of Platinum Group Metals to the Circular Economy. 


Based on the criteria of revenue growth from 2016 to 2019, BR Metals secured a place in the Top 10 ranking of Singapore's Fastest Growing Companies thanks to a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in revenue of 178.90% over this 4-year period. This marks the third year in a row that BR Metals has managed to stay within the rankings, re-affirming its potential to be an industry mainstay for the foreseeable future.

 

Commenting on the achievement, Founder and Managing Director of BR Metals, Mr Frank Chen said, "The recognition by the Straits Times and Statista as a fast-growth company for the third successive year validates that we're moving in the right direction. In spite of the current adverse market conditions and uncertainties ahead, we are still expanding and rolling out a new recycling and precious metals analysis service for e-scraps in Singapore with a new processing and sample line as well as a fully equipped analysis lab, Our new state-of-the-art sampling facility in Shaoguan, Guangdong will also start operations in the third quarter this year to process precious metals scraps for the Chinese market."


Mr Chen also credits the BR Metals team and the Company's steely focus on delivering value for customers at every step of the recycling process as being a significant factor in their success. This goal ensures that customers understand the importance of having profitability and sustainability go hand-in-hand, and encourages them to remain committed to recycling their secondary waste.


This award is a new addition to BR Metals' growing list of accolades. Previously, the company achieved a Top 30 position on Financial Times's ranking of 500 high-growth companies from the Asia Pacific region in 2019. Mr Frank Chen was also honoured as Entrepreneur of the Year 2019 (New Entrepreneur Category) - an award jointly accorded by the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (ASME) and the Rotary Club of Singapore.

 

For more details about the ranking of Singapore's Fastest Growing Companies, please visit https://www.straitstimes.com/business/companies-markets/tech-enabled-firms-in-singapore-among-the-fastest-growing-companies

For more information about BR Metals Pte Ltd, please visit www.brmetalsltd.com

For sales enquiries, please contact +65 6362 2946 or email info@brmetalsltd.com

About BR Metals Pte Ltd

BR Metals is the leader in precious metal recovery. We set high industrial standard as a trusted partner that provide responsive services and create sustainable value for clients.

 

Our operations in Guangzhou and Singapore purchase, process and analyse used catalytic converter, petrol-chemical catalyst, and other scrap materials to recover platinum, palladium and rhodium as well as other precious metals. We also provide recycling and precious metal analysis service for e-scraps. 

 

We are committed to positively contribute to clients' growth based on flexible arrangement, fair and transparent trading without compromising our commitment to the sustainability of precious metals and other finite resources.

 

The Review of the BOFIA 2020 - Brand Spur

Achiko AG: Achiko concludes Phase 1 study of Project Gumnuts for Covid-19 testing

  • Completion of Phase 1 testing demonstrates 91% sensitivity and 85% specificity
  • Further optimisation studies are currently being performed and are expected to continue to improve results and match WHO standards
  • Next steps are completion of regulatory approvals and moving the technology to market as soon as possible


ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - EQS Newswire - 25 January 2020 - Achiko AG (SWX:ACHI, ISIN CH0522213468) along with Regenacellx.sl, announces the completion of their Phase 1 study, for the group's patent pending, nanoparticulate DNA aptamer conjugate and diagnostic testing technology, Project Gumnuts. Following a successful in vitro study conducted in 2020 by the University of Rovira, Tarragona, Spain, the current series of studies in Spain and Indonesia were conducted by ISGlobal (The Barcelona Institute for Global Health), and both Riau University and Madani Pekanbaru City District Hospital, respectively.


The study conducted in Barcelona involved translating the Rovira laboratory protocol into a clinical setting using the original prototype materials. A sample of 82 participants collected over 3 months and across a range of scenarios was compared and cross-referenced against positive and negative results obtained through RT-PCR. An initial manual read yielded a result of 80% sensitivity and 63% specificity. Subsequent application of software and machine learning yielded a result of 91% sensitivity and 85% specificity.


"We are encouraged by the progress of Project Gumnuts in the field", said Dr Michael Edel of Regenacellx.sl and Inventor of Project Gumnuts. "The chemistry offers possible advantages over other approaches especially in the areas of consumer experience, stability and cost and we're looking forward to the further development of the technology."


The ongoing studies in Pekanbaru, Indonesia are being conducted with both the original prototype conjugate (Barcelona study) and additionally with a new conjugate with applied improvements. To date, over 250 patient tests have been compared with results obtained through nasopharyngeal swabs with 20 to 30 more being performed each week. Using prototyping materials, the Indonesian team has successfully replicated results from Spain in the field in Pekanbaru: test results from 64 participants initially yielded 82% sensitivity and 63% specificity rates. After conducting further testing using improved pre-production materials and further improvements in software and machine learning, sensitivity and specificity could be improved and testing time was reduced to under 15 minutes. The Company expects further gains to be made in ensuing months.


"We're now moving quickly to get the technology into test kits and into and through approvals, and we believe that given the progress beyond the initial prototypes, we'll be able to deliver test kits which pass the WHO guidelines for sensitivity and specificity", said Steven Goh, CEO of Achiko AG. "We believe that as testing moves from point of care to point of need, the presence of the right testing technologies with the right consumer experience, available in large quantities and at the right price point, to customers at the right time, will contribute to successfully responding to and overcoming the impact of Covid-19 on society and do good in this world. That is what we're here for."

 

The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement.

 

About Achiko AG

We harness ground-breaking science with innovative technology to create solutions that provide a great user experience for patients, physicians and governing bodies alike, leading ultimately to the transformation of the healthcare industry.


The current development of our patent pending diagnostic testing kit for Covid-19 (Project Gumnuts) provides an easy and effective way that enables people to obtain the information they need and require. Complemented by our mobile check-in app (Teman Sehat), we empower users to manage their diagnostic experiences on their own terms, safeguard their privacy, share experiences, obtain passport verification and find community.

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Achiko holds exclusive commercialisation rights to the technology underlying Project Gumnuts from Regenacellex.SL. It may be used to detect all types of Covid-19, but also many other pathogens. Achiko is looking forward to the completion of regulatory approval and getting the technology to market as quickly as possible, applying it in an array of test kits and other assay formats.


Headquartered in Zurich, we have offices in Hong Kong, Jakarta, Singapore and Seoul.
http://www.achiko.com


About Regenacellx.sl


We are a regenerative medicine company working with expert clinicians and scientists in the field of stem cells and small chemicals to advance cell replacement strategies to regenerate damaged tissues of the human body. In response to the global Covid-19 pandemic, we are developing next stage technology in the testing and diagnosis of pathogens as simple kits for home use or point of care (PoC) for a range of human diseases including Covid-19.


http://www.regenacellx.com/


Disclaimer
This communication expressly or implicitly contains certain forward-looking statements concerning Achiko AG and its business. Such statements involve certain known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, which could cause the actual results, financial condition, performance or achievements of Achiko AG to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Achiko AG is providing this communication as of this date and does not undertake to update any forward-looking statements contained herein as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.


The Review of the BOFIA 2020 - Brand Spur

FTLife survey shows Hongkongers far less confident about retirement due to pandemic, while younger generation lacks wealth management knowledge

FTLife launches Prosperous Deferred Annuity Plan 2 for customers’ retirement need with tax deduction

 

  • In survey, 70% said they lack confidence in retirement due to pandemic, four times that pre-Covid level. Top three retirement worries are rising medical expenses (53%), lack of stable income (52%) and managing expenses (50%);
  • High market volatility arouses risk-adverse sentiment among Hongkongers. 37% of the respondents prefer to hold cash savings, especially for young people aged between 20 and 29 (62%). Around a quarter are more interested in capital guaranteed or low risk investment. Many people are re-examining their retirement needs, with 62% of the respondents expressing interest in subscribing to a qualifying deferred annuity plan in the coming year.
  • FTLife is launching Prosperous Deferred Annuity Plan 2, which is open to customers who are 20 years old or above. The guaranteed breakeven period is as short as eight years [1]and the range of total internal rate of return at maturity between 3.28% to 4.32% [2] , so as to encourage different customers, especially the younger generation, to start their retirement planning early for a better future.

 

HONG KONG SAR - Media OutReach - 25 January 2021 - FTLife Insurance Company Limited ("FTLife") commissioned a market research company to conduct "Retirement Planning and Confidence Survey" in December 2020. The survey interviewed 405 working adults aged 20 or above to understand how the pandemic affects Hongkongers' retirement planning, wealth management preference and behaviours.


The Review of the BOFIA 2020 - Brand Spur

FTLife launches Prosperous Deferred Annuity Plan 2 (Prosperous 2) today. From now until 31 March 2021, customers who successfully subscribe to Prosperous 2 as well as one of the designated Voluntary Health Insurance Scheme plans or insurance plans (basic plan/rider) can enjoy up to 15% of first-year premium refund. The minimum issue age of Prosperous 2 is 20 years old and the range of total Internal Rate of Return at maturity can be up to 3.28% to 4.32%, helping customers achieve a stable and independent retirement life.


COVID-19 pandemic has deeply impacted the global economy. The survey revealed increased pessimistic about retirement among respondents since the start of the pandemic. Before the outbreak, around 16% said that they lacked confidence in retirement. During the pandemic, the number quadrupled to around 70%, illustrating how the pandemic has intensified Hongkongers' worries about retirement. The top three worries cited are rising retirement medical expenses (53%), a lack of stable income post-retirement (52%) and greater difficulty coping with retirement expenses (50%).

 

Younger generation fall short on mid- to long-term financial planning

 

About a quarter (24%) of the respondents said their investment awareness has improved due to the uncertain economy. However, two fifths (41%) are concerned about not making good investment decisions in the current volatile market owing to a lack of market and investment knowledge.

 

This is especially true among the younger generation. Half (52%) of the younger respondents (aged 20 to 29) said they lacked knowledge on investment products and nearly three fifths of them (59%) said they did not know how to do mid- to long-term financial planning. Almost three quarters (73%) said they have no regular saving habits.

 

Only 17% of those respondents aged 30 and over said they have no regular saving habits, with 40% saying they did not know how to do such financial planning. That said, about one-third (35%) of this group said that they didn't have enough knowledge about investment products.

 

Hongkongers increasingly risk-averse

 

Due to the volatile market and the pandemic, Hongkongers have become more risk-adverse leading to the adoption of more conservative investment strategies. Nearly two fifths (37%) of those surveyed prefer to hold cash savings, especially those aged between 20 and 29 (62%). A quarter (25%) of the respondents are more interested in capital guaranteed or low risk investment.

 

As the pandemic continues and dents Hongkongers' confidence in retirement, more respondents expressed their desire for a stable income in retirement (55%) and acknowledged that qualifying deferred annuity plan is a suitable first step of retirement planning (41%).

 

FTLife Chief Commercial Officer and Chief Product Officer Christine Yeung said: "Our latest survey found that Hongkongers' confidence in retirement dropped during the pandemic and many young people did not have regular saving habits. This may result in missing the best timing to save for retirement and to achieve the rolling effect of compound interest. Regardless of any economic cycle, it is best to plan retirement early. For Hongkongers with limited amount of capital and little investment experience, they can consider subscribing to a qualifying deferred annuity plan to start saving early. They can enjoy tax deductions while taking the first step to plan for retirement."

 

With regard to the public's retirement needs under the pandemic, FTLife further investigated the public's acceptance rate of a qualifying deferred annuity plan in the survey. The pandemic has prompted people to review their retirement protection needs. More than three fifths (62%) of the respondents are interested in subscribing to a qualifying deferred annuity plan in the coming year. The most attractive features of such a plan include: stable income in retirement (82%), regulatory supervision (53%), payment in installments involving smaller amounts (47%), tax deductions (45%), higher guaranteed cash value and lower investment risk (30%).

 

Minimum issue age of 20 for FTLife's Prosperous 2 helps customers plan ahead

 

In response to increasing public demand of worry-free retirement, FTLife is launching the Prosperous Deferred Annuity Plan 2 ( Prosperous 2) and setting the minimum issue age at 20 years old. This will allow customers to start their retirement planning at an early age and enjoy tax deductions at the same time.

 

Prosperous 2 is certified by the Insurance Authority as a tax-deductible qualifying deferred annuity policy, with options for Premium Payment Period and Accumulation Period. Customers can accelerate potential wealth growth through guaranteed cash value and non-guaranteed terminal dividend [3] . The guaranteed breakeven period can be as short as eight years1 and the range of total internal rate of return at maturity is between 3.28% to 4.32% 2 . During the annuity period, Prosperous 2 provides two extra protection that are exclusive [4] in the market: Travel Accidental Benefit and Terminal Illness Benefit.

 

Ms. Yeung added: "Prosperous Deferred Annuity Plan has been welcomed by customers since its launch. The enhanced version is being launched during this special period to meet market demand and provide Hongkongers with a simple but reassuring retirement plan. This is to encourage more people to plan their retirement ahead, benefit from compound interest return for a longer period, and utilise the best time to save for retirement. With the diversified Voluntary Health Insurance Scheme that FTLife offers, we are confident to provide customers of different ages an ideal retirement planning package, helping customers achieve a stable and independent retirement life while protecting capital and against health risks."

 

From now until 31 March 2021, customers who successfully subscribe to Prosperous 2 as well as one of the designated Voluntary Health Insurance Scheme plans or insurance plans [5] (basic plan/rider) can enjoy up to 15% of first-year premium refund [6] .


Important notes:

  • The information contained in this press release is intended as a general summary of information for reference only. For details, please refer to relevant product brochures and client incentive leaflet. Please refer to the policy provision for full terms and conditions about FTLife "Prosperous Deferred Annuity Plan 2".
  • This press release does not contain the full provisions of Prosperous Deferred Annuity Plan 2 and the above-mentioned designated insurance plans, and the full terms can be found in the Policy documents.
  • Prosperous Deferred Annuity Plan 2 and the above-mentioned designated insurance plans may be purchased as   a standalone plan without bundling with other type(s) of insurance product.
  • Prosperous Deferred Annuity Plan 2 is a qualifying deferred annuity policy, but this does not mean that the qualifying deferred annuity premiums paid by the policyholder and relevant persons are eligible for tax deduction. The nature of qualifying deferred annuity policy for this product depends on the product characteristics and the certification issued by the Insurance Authority, and not on the individual circumstances of the policyholder and related persons. Policyholders and the relevant persons should meet all eligibility requirements under the Inland Revenue Ordinance of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Inland Revenue Department before claiming tax deductions. For details on tax deductions, please visit Inland Revenue Department of HKSAR website www.ird.gov.hk and consult your tax and accounting advisors for tax advice.
  • FTLife does not provide any tax, legal or accounting advice or consultation. If you have any questions, please seek professional advice from your independent tax, legal and accounting advisors. The information in this press release does not constitute any tax advice.
  • For further details, please contact FTLife's Customer Service Hotline on +852 2866 8898.
  • This document is for distribution in Hong Kong only. It is not an offer to sell or solicitation to buy or provision of any insurance product outside Hong Kong. FTLife does not offer or sell any insurance product in any jurisdiction outside Hong Kong, in which such offering or sales of the insurance product is illegal under the laws of such jurisdictions.



[1] Calculated based on the 5-year premium payment period and annual premium payment mode. Guaranteed break even period refers to the policy year that the guaranteed cash value is equal to or greater than the premium paid for the first time (refers to the total amount of premium(s) due and paid for the basic plan. If customer partially surrenders this Policy, the total premiums paid will be proportionately reduced.).

[2] Calculation of total internal Rate of Return at maturity includes Guaranteed Monthly Annuity Payment and Non-guaranteed Monthly Annuity Payment, and assumes that the Annuitant receives annuity payment on a monthly basis. Assuming the Annuitant is a 45 years old non-smoker male at application, 3.28% of total Internal Rate of Return at maturity is calculated based on 9-year premium payment period with monthly premium payment mode and 10 years of accumulation period. While 4.32% of total Internal Rate of Return at maturity is calculated based on 5-year premium payment period with annual premium payment mode and 30 years of accumulation period. This is calculated on a best estimate basis which is based on the current dividend scale and assume no cash withdrawal or policy loan during the entire policy and all premiums have been paid in full within the premium payment period. The current dividend scale does not reflect future performance and is non-guaranteed. Please refer to the policy provisions for details.

[3] Terminal Dividend is non-guaranteed and will be paid upon policy termination (except maturity) and partial surrender. Please refer to the policy provisions for details of Terminal Dividend.   

[4] The "Market Exclusive" item is the result comparing similar Qualifying Deferred Annuity Plan policies of major life insurance companies in Hong Kong, until 25 January 2021. During Annuity Period, under the protection of (A) Travel Accidental Benefit, disability of the Annuitant resulted from oversea accidents will be compensated and (B) Terminal Illness Benefit, the Annuitant is diagnosed with Terminal Illness will receive up to 12 months of additional installment payments, are both exclusive in the market .

[5] Voluntary Health Insurance Scheme Series: "TopCare" Medical Insurance Plan and "BetterCare" Medical Insurance Plan; other designated insurance plans include Regent Insurance Plan 2 Series, Regent Prime Insurance Plan (Premier), Regent Elite Insurance Plan (Premier), "HealthCare 168 Plus" Critical Illness Protector, MediGold Plus Insurance Plan and "On Your Mind" Insurance Plan.

[6] Subject to terms and conditions, please refer to the promotional brochure for details.

About FTLife Insurance Company Limited

FTLife Insurance Company Limited ("FTLife") is one of the most well-established life insurance companies in Hong Kong and a wholly-owned subsidiary of NWS Holdings Limited. Building on a history of more than 30 years in the territory, FTLife provides individual and institutional clients with a diverse range of insurance and wealth management products and services, including life, health, accident, savings and investment insurance. As a member of New World Group, FTLife works with diversified businesses within the Group to create synergies and provides customers with best-in-class life-planning solutions, from wealth management and succession to health, wellbeing and quality of life enhancement.

 

About "Retirement Planning and Confidence Survey"

FTLife Insurance Company Limited ("FTLife") commissioned a market research company to conduct "Retirement Planning and Confidence Survey" to understand how the pandemic affects Hong Kong people retirement planning, investment preference and behaviours. The survey was conducted in December 2020 to collect data from 405 working people aged 20 or above through street interviews. The survey mainly targets people with personal monthly income above HK$20,000.

The Review of the BOFIA 2020 - Brand Spur

COVID-19 Crisis: How Digital Marketing Help Businesses Thrive Amidst the Pandemic

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA - Media OutReach - 25 January 2021 - At the time of writing, Malaysia's COVID cases have increased at an alarming rate with 42,397 active cases and 642 accumulative deaths, resulting in MCO implementation 2.0. Many small business owners and big enterprises are directly impacted by the unfortunate circumstances that come with the virus that alerted society globally in November 2019.


With a cumulative total of 95,612,831 cases and 2,066,176 deaths globally, this pandemic that has hit the world has changed society's norms and the infrastructure of businesses and marketing strategies. As it happens, COVID has pushed society into embracing a new world where social distancing is a necessity, with digital space becoming the primary channel to stay connected with the rest of the world population.


New marketing strategies are now vital for businesses to survive and thrive amidst these trying times. With COVID-19 living within society, changing how businesses and economic sectors run vigorously, small and big business owners are left to rethink their whole digital roadmap and business model to outmanoeuvre the pandemic.


Reevaluate Business Marketing Strategies


At its core, a good marketing strategy includes a deep understanding of the target market. Once that is figured out, the business brand and its marketing strategy can move towards fitting in with the target market's perspectives. The pandemic has called for a change in the market's infrastructure, so does the need for every business to redevelop a new and appropriate marketing strategy.


The first action to take to develop a new marketing strategy is reassessing and reevaluating the business's assets and messages from a different perspective. As we live in a world with high unemployment rates, economic and general anxiety, messages, and business marketing strategies need to be aligned with societal status and financial hardships.


Losing market share to the competition during this time will take a long time to build that volume back. Thus, it will all come down to the effective search marketing strategies in moving your brand and business forward and thriving amidst the pandemic.


Improve Communication Channels

 

Many businesses are forced to close during the pandemic, with survival depending on revamped services and digital alternatives. For businesses to rise above and stand out in a competitive and crowded digital space, an improved communication channel is vital.


As consumers move online, businesses must be in the digital space too. Focusing on digital marketing efforts like paid ads, search engine optimization (SEO), social media, and email marketing is essential to keep brands and businesses connected to the target market.


As far as business communication and marketing go during the pandemic, business owners and brands should now leverage on the opportunity to further connect with anxious markets and focus on the true relevance of products or services with the help of a digital marketing agency


Readjust Business Models

 

In the face of the COVID-19 crisis, fundamental changes in consumer behaviour, supply chains, and routes to market are knocking companies off balance. Responding to the pandemic has underscored leaders' need to accelerate agile ways of working and value chain transformation to help outmanoeuvre uncertainty.


Readjusting business models to be adaptive to the current economic situation is now vital. With a large portion of consumers currently active on social media, taking advantage, and focusing your business models and marketing efforts on the social media channels will drive a lot of customer engagement.


While businesses may not wholly replicate the services and experiences to offer in-person in the online world, proactive steps can be taken to keep consumers coming from a virtual perspective. Essentially, giving back to the community by giving helpful tools and thoughtful promotions can build brand awareness and loyalty.


Digital Marketing for Business to Survive the Pandemic


In these trying times where everything is uncertain, brands and businesses' best thing to do right now is to stay proactive. Start to adapt and readjust the brand's promotional strategies and take advantage of a digital marketing agency.


As a leading digital marketing agency in Malaysia, iMarketing helps businesses build up and stay connected with the rest of the world population with our personalised SEO Performance Audit and Analysis, website SEO optimisation, Facebook, and Google advertisements for better conversion rates.


Having a business digital marketing strategy that leans intensely on the community, relationships, and brand building with customers is vital to give them a reason to connect with your brands on a deeper level for strong brand loyalty.  Find a new business model and strategy, and give out a message that resonates with the community for the business to be in an excellent position to retain market share as economic activity across the country begins to reach its new capacity.


If brands and business owners are uncertain about how to survive and thrive during the pandemic or in need of a little help dealing with the company's crisis, reach out to iMarketing today for a free digital marketing consultation.


About iMarketing

iMarketing MY is a business unit of the privately owned Acme Commerce Sdn Bhd, established in 1989. Over the years, iMarketing has collaborated with top SMEs and MNCs to provide Digital Marketing Services such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Social Media Marketing (SMM), and Google Display Advertising.


The Review of the BOFIA 2020 - Brand Spur

CityLand Education (Vietnam) Announces Partnership with VET by EHL

HO CHI MINH CITY, VIETNAM - Media OutReach - 25 January 2021 - Cityland Education (Vietnam) has signed with EHL Advisory Services to become a VET by EHL Licensed Center to train service-minded hospitality professionals ready to thrive in a shifting industry.


Cityland Education (CE) is thrilled to start the year 2021 with an exciting partnership with EHL, the best hospitality school in the world, which confirms our confidence in the tourism potential of Vietnam. By venturing into the education industry, Cityland is not only strengthening its position as a leading Vietnamese group but also fully engaging into its corporate social responsibility policy.


Cityland Education aims at offering the best educational and vocational programs available worldwide to the Vietnamese students and workforce. By bridging the gap between the job market needs and the education space, Cityland Education is looking forward to strengthening local skills, expanding career opportunities and enhancing Vietnamese people's lives.


The VET by EHL program is a blended skills training model based on the Swiss Competency Framework, regarded as one of the best education models in the world. It is characterized by a strong learning outcomes approach and a competence-oriented structure of training content. The curriculum emphasizes practical learning, designed to enable graduates to be work-ready upon completion.


As a VET by EHL Licensed Center, Cityland Education through its Hotel Academy Phu Quoc will offer 4 module-based Professional Diplomas and Certificates to students interested in fast-tracking or upgrading their career in hospitality: Kitchen, Service, Rooms and Hotel Administration.


The flexible program structure targets students and professionals at different levels in their career focusing on the application of skills through real-world learning and internships. All learning content is developed by EHL in Switzerland, encouraging a stimulating and interactive teaching style.


Our collaboration with EHL is a common answer to the current aspiration of the Vietnamese hospitality industry, and the service industry in general, to upgrade the skills of its professional workers and therefore improve our customers' experience while visiting our country.


Our upcoming Hotel Academy Phu Quoc will be the first training center owned by Cityland Education and licensed under the standards of VET by EHL. The Hotel Academy will follow VET by EHL's international requirements in terms of facilities and design and will comprise of more than 10,000sqm available to students. The learning environment will match VET by EHL's blended learning model and consist of:

  • a 50-room training hotel with 4 meeting rooms
  • 10 full-size classrooms and 16 half-size classrooms
  • 1 ballroom
  • 1 reception
  • 1 IT laboratory
  • 1 demonstration kitchen
  • 4 study rooms
  • 1 print shop and multimedia corner,   
  • 1 library
  • 1 bakery and 1 café bar
  • 1 main kitchen


The convenient location of the Hotel Academy Phu Quoc at only a 10-min drive from the international airport provides great accessibility for students and professionals flying in while being close to Long Beach and its numerous hotels and resorts.


Finally, Cityland Education views the current pandemic as an opportunistic time for students and professionals to improve and hone their skills as the travel & tourism industry is redefining its future. As a destination, Vietnam has been blessed with amazing landscapes, rich culture and exquisite cuisine which make us among travellers' top destination choices. We believe that with the right training and the integration of best practices, we will be able to provide an authentic and memorable experience with a whole new level of service.


Statement from VET by EHL


Mr. André Mack, Director & Deputy Senior Managing Director of EHL Advisory Services also shared his vision regarding the upcoming Hotel Academy Phu Quoc" EHL is delighted to partner with Cityland Group to establish the very first VET by EHL center in Vietnam. We believe that this partnership will set up a unique hospitality education community within the region by providing students with an education that upholds the highest international standards and EHL excellence and supports the local hospitality industry development. "


About CityLand

CityLand Investment Company Limited (CityLand) develops and operates a multi-industry business, which places real estate development at core. Our mission is to contribute to the creation of prosperous life for people through inclusive and high-class residences without compromising the quality of the environment. Sustainable and high-quality life for people is our strongest motivation. On a broader scale, we aim to bring sustainable values to the socio-economic development of Vietnam. We envision ourselves to become a trustworthy and leading brand in Vietnam's real estate industry and to enlarge our business scope to international market.


With such dedication and vision, CityLand embraces credibility, quality, integrity, commitment and community value as core values in our business philosophy and relationships with stakeholders. CityLand commits the highest quality on all CityLand branded properties while having strong focus on strategic and successful partnerships, and sustainable employment practices.


Throughout the years, CityLand has successfully developed many real estate projects such as CityLand Riverside, CityLand Garden Hills, CityLand Park Hills and CityLand Center Hills. Following the success we have achieved, we continue to grow and build our ongoing projects such as Forest Bay Phu Quoc, President Park, Dong Mai City...

CityLand has been continuing striving towards success and achieving significant recognitions such as Best Luxury Township Development 2020, Best Luxury Developer Southeast Asia 2018, Top 10 Vietnam's Largest Private Enterprise 2016-2017...

Cityland Education is the education arm of Cityland.


Vision: to contribute to Vietnam's peaceful future, social stability and economic growth by building the capacities of the next generation of Vietnamese students and professionals.


Mission: to offer the best curriculum and trainings available worldwide to our students so they can acquire the right skills to meet the employment market needs.

About EHL Group

EHL Group encompasses a portfolio of specialized business units that deliver hospitality management education and innovation worldwide. Headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland, the Group includes:


EHL Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne is an ambassador for traditional Swiss hospitality and has been a pioneer in hospitality education since 1893 with over 25,000 alumni worldwide and over 120 nationalities among its students. EHL is the world's first hospitality management school that provides undergraduate and graduate programs at its campuses in Lausanne, Singapore and Chur-Passugg, as well as online learning solutions. The university of applied sciences is ranked n°1 by QS World University Rankings by subject and CEOWorld Magazine, and its gastronomic restaurant is the world's only educational establishment to hold a Michelin Star for two consecutive years.


EHL Swiss School of Tourism and Hospitality has been one of the leading hospitality management colleges for hotel specialists for 50 years. The College delivers Swiss-accredited federal diplomas of vocational education and training and of higher education in its 19th century spa-hotel in Chur-Passugg, Graubünden, to Swiss and international students from 20 countries.


EHL Advisory Services is the largest Swiss hospitality advisory company specializing in service culture implementation, business consulting, as well as the development and quality assurance of learning centers. EHL Advisory Services has offices in Lausanne, Beijing, Shanghai and New Delhi and has delivered mandates in more than 60 countries over the past 40 years.   

The Review of the BOFIA 2020 - Brand Spur
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