Preemployment card management defends program amid criticism

first_imgThe program, aimed at helping people whose job or small business has been hit by the COVID-19 outbreak, has come under public scrutiny because it partners with online learning platform Skill Academy, linked to a former staffer of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.Read also: Conflict of interest? Public questions government’s relationship with start-upsEducation technology company Ruangguru, the parent company of Skill Academy, is led by Adamas Belva Devara, who previously served on the President’s millennial expert staff. As a result of the controversy, he resigned from his post on April 21.The program management has also been mired in controversies related to its lack of transparency in appointing the partners, as it already partnered with eight platforms when it was launched on April 11. Apart from Skill Academy, the partners include e-commerce firms Bukalapak and Tokopedia, as well as start-ups Pintaria and Sekolahmu, among others. The management of the preemployment card, a government-funded unemployment benefit and skills training program, has defended the program following public criticism over conflicts of interest and a lack of transparency, with a spokesman pointing out that the program was “direct assistance” that did not involve procurement of goods and services.The management’s director of communications, partnerships and ecosystem development Panji Ruky said on Monday that the government had determined that his office did not procure any goods or services from its eight existing partners. The decision was made based on consultations with government agencies and ministries, including the National Public Procurement Agency (LKPP).“It is essentially direct assistance,” Panji told an online briefing on Monday. “There is noncash assistance in terms of aid for online courses and cash assistance in terms of incentives to the recipients.” If the program qualified as goods or services procurement, Presidential Regulation No. 16/2018 on the procurement of goods and services stipulates that it would need to be carried out in a transparent manner.The program is now open to any organizations wanting to become a partner, as long as they meet the requirements, such as operating on a national scale, having the necessary information and technology systems and partnering with training institutions, said Panji.“We are open to all parties, there is no special way [to partner with the program], no limit on the number of partners or any specific preferences,” he added.Offering over 2,000 online courses, more than 8 million applicants had registered for the program to receive the Rp 3.5 million benefit as of Monday.Topics :last_img read more

40,000 Swiss companies to rethink pension plans as AXA restructures

first_imgThe full-service package meant the provider took on all the risks, including longevity, regulation, returns and guarantees.In semi-autonomous solutions the insurer continues to cover longevity risk and reporting, but some of the investment risk is unloaded to the companies. This means the portfolios can take higher risks and increase potential returns, but companies may have to top-up the pension plan if there is a shortfall.AXA said it would pay for an 11% buffer for the new semi-autonomous portfolio.“It is a one time opportunity for SMEs to start [their] pension plan with a 111% funding level,” Roger Ehrensberger, senior manager at PwC Switzerland, told IPE.In total, AXA has offered CHF3.5bn in buffers to be shared among the clients that opt for the semi-autonomous solution.However, Ehrensberger pointed out that AXA had not yet disclosed the conditions linked to this offer, which might include contractual commitments.Future of VollversicherungenAffected clients could switch to one of five other providers of full-service solutions still in the market. The largest, Swiss Life, confirmed in a press release this week that it would continue to offer full-service packages.In a statement announcing its decision, AXA said it exited the market because demand for Vollversicherungen had waned – but Ehrensberger argued that the regulatory framework had also likely played a part in the decision.“The reform package Altersvorsorge 2020 that was rejected last September would have included measures to help insurers offering these Vollversicherungen,” he said.One problem insurers faced when offering full guarantees on returns and pension pay-out levels was that they were forced to invest a major part of their portfolio in fixed income.In the new pension portfolios AXA can increase its equity exposure from under 4% to 30%.“It might be the right market environment to switch to a new pension solution with a lower bond exposure but there is no one-size-fits-all solution,” Ehrensberger said.In addition, he argued that there would still be a market for full-service solutions, especially for SMEs with a larger share of retirees or older employees. The second largest insurance provider of occupational pension plans in Switzerland has changed its business model to rid itself of risky return guarantees.AXA Switzerland has told 40,000 small and medium sized business (SME) clients that it would no longer offer a full-service occupational pension plan with guarantees – known as a Vollversicherung.In total decision affects 400,000 employees and retirees and CHF31bn (€26.1bn) in accrued assets.Instead, AXA said it would change the contracts into what it called “semi-autonomous solutions”, or “teilautonome Lösungen”.last_img read more

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