Edge Magazine interviewed Hosea Kiili, group managing director, CPF Financial Services to get insights on the firm’s competiveness and its relevance over the years. Here are the excerpts.
EM: A brief background of CPF Financial Services Ltd (CPF) and its mandates?
HOSEA: The organization’s history dates back to 1929 when it was a pension secretariat of the Nairobi Municipality Superannuation Fund. We are one of the oldest Pension Scheme Administrators in the country. During this time the organization’s original core mandate was in pensions management-serving the former Local Authorities (now County Governments). That market remains through our Defined Benefits Scheme (DB), Defined Contribution Scheme (DC) and a Trust Fund for the DB and DC schemes’ beneficiaries. We now offer a wider variety of financial and other services through the CPF (Individual) Pension Scheme (IPP) and our three subsidiary companies. CPF now offers a wider selection of services to a greater number of people through its subsidiaries including Insurance Brokers offered by Laser Insurance Brokers (LIB), Property management and development under Laser, Infrastructure and Technology Services through LITES. The entire business is now referred fondly as CPF Group.
Our main client (DB Scheme) has evolved and consequently rebranded through the years from Nairobi Municipality Superannuation Fund to The Kenya Local Government Officers Superannuation Fund (KLGOSF) in 1963 to Local Authorities Pensions Trust (Laptrust) in 2005.
EM: What are CPF’s meaningful innovations that have improved livelihoods?
HOSEA: CPF Group is founded on certain values that are core to the organization and that anchor our business operations; innovativeness is one of these values. Throughout the group entities, we strive to do things differently by being more efficient, creating better customer experiences, and embracing continuous improvement. All our services therefore have an innovative edge to them.
M Pension is our latest innovation which has changed the face of the pensions sector as it were. M-pension is a mobile based product of the CPF (Individual) Pension Scheme that is accessible to all individuals regardless of their economic activities or status. All economically active Kenyans can therefore subscribe and start saving for their future through this mobile based platform.
Majority of Kenyans cannot afford to retire mainly because they do not have a pension to sustain them. The trend in Kenya and indeed most of Africa is that after retirement, one starts a small businesses that can at least put a meal on their tables for as long as they can; mainly because pension arrangements have for the longest time been exclusive only to those in formal employment, and even then, not all employers accorded employees this benefit.With such innovations like the M-pension, the inability to access a pension product is now a thing of the past. The power to plan for the future has now been transferred from employers to individuals.
Kenyans in both the formal and informal sectors have taken advantage of this opportunity and subscribed to M-pension because of its flexibility and efficiency. One year since its launch, M-pension has seen over 10,000 subscribers and that number is rapidly growing.
EM: How has M-pension improved lives and livelihoods?
HOSEA: M-pension is a pension product for all.
There is no restriction on the basis of age, occupation, gender or any other demographics and this has improved livelihoods by giving them hope for a better future.
EM: What informed your decision to introduce M-pension?
HOSEA: Since its Launch in October 2014 the growth of subscribers has been tremendous which goes to show that M-pension is a revolutionary innovation and Kenyans are embracing it.
10,000 subscribers is sure evidence of the wave M-pension is causing across the country.
EM: CPF has been recognized as a leader in the Pension Administration Industry, what strategies have you put in place to maintain this position?
HOSEA: At CPF we have core values that guide us; one of them being Innovation. It is the cornerstone of our business. In the highly turbulent modern day business environment, Innovation is key to a competitive advantage. I therefore encourage out of the box thinking here at CPF at all times; and that has definitely yielded results.
The other strategy is putting the customers first. Without our customers we have no business. Being customer focused has been very instrumental in enabling us identify areas of growth and improvement. As an institution, we embrace continuous growth and improvement.
EM: What challenges have you faced? Are there any possible interventions?
HOSEA: Like any other business, CPF has faced various challenges over the years. One such challenge is stiff competition from other industry players.
Today very many companies offer financial services in social security and other related services. Innovation therefore remains our major intervention strategies.
EM: Any other pertinent issue?
HOSEA: CPF Group will keep providing satisfactory financial and consulting solutions to all clients and aims to do all this in a strategic yet sustainable way that not only brings business to our organization but also fulfills the lives of customers and the community we operate in.