Cash-Flushed Namfisa Keeps Financial Houses in Line

With more than 366 customer complaints lodged, and an active financial education campaign, the financial institutions regulator completed the 201314 financial year on a high note – with a surplus of N$24 million in the kitty.

Not only did the Namibia Financial Institutions Supervisory Authority (Namfisa) manage to resolve 96 percent of the complaints lodged in the year, it also penalised financial institutions found to have crossed the line, a clear indication of the regulator’s bite contrary to the often expressed public perception of Namfisa the toothless regulator.

In fact, it is those penalties, along with high levies, that contributed significantly to Namfisa’s high income for the year ended 31 March 2014, which amounted to N$116.8 million.

The total expenditure for the year was N$94.2 million, which allowed the financial regulator to record a net surplus income of N$24.3 million.

Income for the year is 13 percent higher than the initial budget, whilst expenditure is 8 percent lower than the initial budget.

“Factors contributing to the higher income can be attributed to higher levy base levels, penalty fee income due to a more focused campaign to drive compliance and concerted efforts to enhance interest earnings to maximise returns, through swift action and taking aantage of competitive interest rates,” said Phillip Shiimi, Namfisa Chief Executive Officer.

Namfisa says it recovered in excess of N$1.437 million in benefits claims and refunds paid by the financial institutions to customers who lodged complaints in 2013.

A bulk of the 366 complaints were against micro-lenders, with 167 complaints, followed by 95 complaints against long-term insurance, and 56 complaints against pension funds and 43 against short-term insurance.

Namfisa says it continued to strengthen its regulatory and supervisory approaches, during the year under review, using technology and human resources based on a thorough self- assessment of current policies and practices.

“The authority has engaged in a deliberate process to enhance its ability to fulfil its mandate of supervising the business of financial institutions and financial services totalling across approximately 3 500 entities and individuals conducting financial service businesses in Namibia, and to aise the Minister of Finance on matters related to financial institutions and financial services,” says Namfisa in the annual report that was just released this week.

Shiimi says ongoing supervision of regulated entities was strengthened through the issuance of directives to correct anomalies in the market, and by continuing the gradual transition from rule-based to risk-based supervision.

“Through all these, the authority continued its zero tolerance for non-compliance as supported by relentless implementation of our supervisory ladder of intervention,” he says.

Assets under Namfisa’s regulatory ambit for the year under review amount to N$178 899 million, although the total figure of assets under Namfisa regulation, when including the significant overlap of investment managed assets of pensions funds, is at N$347 165 million. The nominal gross domestic product was recorded at N$120 058 million.

Shiimi says Namfisa is now tackling finalising the process of turning into law the Financial Institutions and Markets (FIM) and the Financial Services Ombudsman (FSO) Bills.

“Considerable work has gone into them. Our expectation is that these Bills will become law in the current financial year. A mammoth task rests on our shoulders to ensure not only the implementation of the Bills but also to inform and educate the stakeholders on their contents. This will be a key focus area in terms of our consumer education engagements,” he said.

Source : New Era