The private sector pension industry is regulated by the Financial Services Commission (FSC). The two types of funds in this industry are Approved Retirement Schemes (ARSs) and Approved Superannuation Funds (ASFs). Membership in ASFs is limited to those employed by employers that have set up superannuation funds for their employees.
Unfortunately, most companies have not sponsored pension arrangements for their employees which has limited the number of Jamaicans who benefit from superannuation funds. ARSs are open to self-employed workers and employees who are not eligible to participate in their employer’s pension plan or whose employer does not have a superannuation fund.
Both ASFs and ARSs provide the same tax benefits as the National Insurance Scheme (NIS).
Personal voluntary pension
An Approved Retirement Scheme (ARS) is an individual pension plan to which the following category of persons can make contributions toward a pension:
- Self-employed individuals
- Employees who are not active members of an approved superannuation fund (SF) and
- Employers who have not set up an approved Superannuation Fund (SF) for their employees
An ARS must be registered and approved by the FSC. In addition, these schemes can only be set up by a registered life insurer or a licensed Investment Manager.
The annual rate of contribution by each member cannot exceed 20% of pensionable salaries. Unlike an approved SF, employers of persons who contribute to an approved RS are not required to make contributions to the scheme. They may, however, do so voluntarily. If the employer decides to contribute to the plan, total contributions on behalf of a member should not exceed 20% of pensionable salaries.
Plans are Defined Contributions in nature. Benefits are paid out as a pension or an annuity.