Stakeholder regulators across the region are being urged to build resilient pension systems with the capacity to respond to small and large shocks and navigate a rapidly changing financial sector.
This charge comes from Financial Services Commission (FSC) Executive Director, Major Keron Burrell, who delivered the keynote address during Tuesday’s (June 13) opening ceremony for the Caribbean Association of Pensions Supervisors (CAPS) Conference, at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.
Major Burrell pointed out that the COVID-19 pandemic “accelerated the pace of change” globally and triggered the “largest global economic crisis in more than a century”, which unearthed several pre-existing vulnerabilities of pension systems.
These include rising corporate debt, increasing sovereign debt, fragility in non-deposit-taking institutions (DTIs), and declining profitability in certain DTIs.
“While we cannot anticipate every shock type, we can build resilience. Resilience puts systems in a better position to absorb some pandemic-related shocks, effectively support economies, consumers and investors and mitigate the worst economic and financial effects,” Buurell said.
He noted that the sector continues to be challenged by threats associated with the rapid advancements in technology, including, increased cybercrime and fraudulent activities, among other things.
Major Burrell pointed out that even in crisis, there are opportunities and “preparedness and resilience are, therefore, critical, not just in the face of shocks but in the face of the rapidly changing nature of the financial sector itself”.
“We all, as regulators, must cultivate strategies to rebuild resilience over time, including addressing old vulnerabilities and testing for new ones. As pension plan supervisors, we must stay informed about technological advancements and enhance our ability to monitor the industry more efficiently and effectively,” he added.
Major Burrell urged the regulators to continue providing financial education to members, especially on pertinent issues, and to provide guidance to the trustees that will enable them to ask direct questions and make sound decisions.
He further emphasised that continuous learning and professional development are critical in light of industry trends.
Major Burrell pointed out that regulatory updates and best practices are essential for pension funds providers to carry out their duties effectively and make informed decisions that benefit pension plan members and beneficiaries.
The CAPS comprises 20 member countries, including all members of CARICOM.
It aims to provide a forum for members to promote and facilitate efficient and effective pension supervisory and regulatory systems in the region.
The conference is being held under the theme ‘Enhancing Protection, Building
Resilience Amid Macro Uncertainty and Systemic Risk’.
Experts from Jamaica, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States of America are slated to make presentations on several crucial topics during the event.
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