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ISLAMABAD: The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has allowed Pension Fund Managers (PFMs) to digitally open individual pension accounts by complying with the requirements prescribed for digital account opening by Asset Management Companies (AMCs).

The SECP has issued circular number 3 of 2021 to the Chief Executive Officers of Pension Fund Management Companies; Mutual Funds Association of Pakistan and trustees of Pension Funds.

Under the new circular, the SECP in exercise of powers conferred under sub-section (3) of section 282B of the Companies Ordinance, 1984 hereby allows Pension Fund Managers registered under Voluntary Pension System Rules, 2005 to digitally open Individual Pension Accounts by complying with the requirements prescribed for Digital Account Opening by Asset Management Companies (AMCs) vide circular 35 of 2020 dated December 30, 2020.

Pension Fund Managers shall at all times comply with all requirements of AML Act, 2010 and AML/CFT Regulations, 2020 Issued by SECP from time to time, SECP said.

This Circular shall come into force with immediate effect, SECP added.

The SECP has issued circular number 3 of 2021 in continuation to Circular 35 of 2020 dated December 30, 2020. Under the circular 35 of 2020, the SECP had laid down minimum criteria for opening of digital accounts for Pakistani individual customers by Asset Management Companies (AMCs).

The eligible customers for the said digital accounts included Pakistani individual customers having: an active account at any bank/active E-Wallet Mobile Account, and an active mobile number in his/her own name.

The minimum customer information/personal profile/documents required by the AMCs revealed that the customer shall access the online portal (website, movie App or any third-party application), and provide the following minimum information for the purpose of registration: Customers name; father/spouse name; date of birth; CNIC/identification number with scanned copy along with date of issuance and expiry; existing residential and mailing address; mobile number registered in his/her name.

Provided that the AMCs may in special circumstances use where the Pakistani individual customer does not have mobile number in his/her own name, the mobile number of close family member or the mobile number provided to Pakistani individual customers by his/her employer, or the international mobile number of Pakistan individual customer having CNIC/NICOP and an active account at any bank/active E-Wallet Mobile Account subject to the following: In case where mobile number of close family member is provided, a duly signed written authorisation, on prescribed format, from both the Pakistani individual customers and the person whose mobile number is being provided.

In case where mobile number provided by the employer is used, Pakistani individual customers shall provide the bill of service provider in accordance with the procedures and a letter from employer stating that the said mobile number is provided by employer to its employee.

In case where international mobile number is used, Pakistani individual customers shall provide the bill of service provider in accordance with the procedures.

For the purpose of this circular, the term, close family member shall mean and include spouse, dependent parents, and dependent children only.

Other required information included email ID; mother’s maiden name; bank/E-Wallet name and Bank Account IBAN Numbed E-Wallet Mobile Account Number; digital/online signature card; details of nominee; source of fund/income; dividend mandate; operating instruction, if any; statement of account request; digital/online declaration regarding profession and sources of fund/income along with uploading of valid document(s) as proof thereof; digital/online undertaking declaring that funds being invested are his/her own funds and that the funds beneficially owned by other persons will not be used and uploading of declaration/undertaking as a proof thereof; digital/online consent for account opening and using information/documents provided digitally/online for necessary due diligence and verification functions; digital/online acceptance of terms/conditions of the account and any other documents required under the AML Act, 2010, and the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism) Regulations, 2020 (AMLJCFT Regulations) (customer specific).

The SECP stated that after submission of the required information and documents, a message shall pop up for the customer on the online portal that his/her request is in process and he/she will receive a one-time password (OTP), once the basic information is verified.

The AMC will carry out required due diligence including but not limited to verification of the CNIC/National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis (NICOP)/Pakistan Origin Card (POC) of customer through NADM VERISYS.

The CNIC and mobile number are pairing (whether it is registered in the name of the customer) through Pakistan Mobile Network Database (PMD).

Provided further that in all the circumstances mentioned, the AMC shall perform digital verification to conduct online face-to-face interaction on real-time basis through any virtual meeting application (WhatsApp, Skype, etc) for authentication of the customer and original identification document.

The AMC will carry out required due diligence including but not limited to screening of the prospective customer against applicable sanctions regimes (UNSC, NACTA, etc); IBAN/E-Wallet Mobile Account Number verification through 1-link title fetch service or IBAN/E-Wallet Mobile Account Number and CNIC Pairing or Digital Verification to conduct online face-to-face interaction on real-time basis through any virtual meeting application (WhatsApp, Skype, etc) for authentication of the customer and original identification document.

Provided that for such Pakistani individual customers who do not have mobile number is their own name or provide international mobile number, WAN/E-Wallet Mobile Account Number verification through 1-link title fetch service or IBAN/and Wallet Mobile Account Number and CNIC Pairing and Digital Verification to conduct online face to face interaction on real-time basis shall be mandatory.

The AMC shall ensure before opening the account that all documents required for screening and risk rating are available, and it can conduct screening and risk rating, the SECP added.

The customer will not be allowed to proceed in case the information cannot be successful be verified by the AMC.

The SECP stated that the AMC will proceed with opening of account after the customer has successfully and activation accessed the portal using the OTP.

Account may be opened after due diligence, checks and satisfactory completion of the requirements.

The opening of customer account shall be subject to compliance with all other applicable legal and regulatory requirements.

The AMCs shall at all time comply with all requirements of the AML Act, 2010, and AML/CFT Regulations, 2020, issued by the SECP from time to time.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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