Pension is an arrangement of providing people with an income when they are no longer earning a regular income from employment. However, pensions should not be confused with severance pay; the former is paid in regular installments, while the latter is paid in one lump sum. The terms „retirement plan‟ or „superannuation‟ refer to a pension granted upon retirement. Retirement plans may be set up by employers, insurance companies, the government or other institutions such as employer associations or trade unions. Retirement pension is referred to as retirement plans in the United States, as pension schemes in the United Kingdom and Ireland but in Nigeria, it is popularly known to as pension. Retirement pensions are typically in the form of a guaranteed life annuity, thus insuring against the risk of longevity. In general, the common use of the term pension is to describe the payments a person receives upon retirement, usually under predetermined legal and/or contractual terms. A recipient of a retirement pension is known as a pensioner or retiree. Pension fund is any plan, fund, or scheme which provides retirement income.
BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The manual method of pension fund management maintains or keeps records in a filing cabinet about each employee/pensioner that is registered with a Pension Fund Administrator (PFA). When an employee decides to open an account with a PFA for the purpose of retirement savings, the former (pensioner) has to go to the physical location of the PFA to obtain and fill a registration form. Upon returning the form, the PFA clerk opens a file for the employee where the filled form and other vital documents as required or that relate to the employee are stored. The file is then passed on to the next PFA personnel to verify the employee‟s registration which may take some days if not weeks as the case may be.
Using the manual method, the employee is unaware of his/her account balance except if he visits the PFA‟s office. So, in case of financial impropriety in the employee‟s account, there is no way he/she can track this. In the manual method, it is a bit cumbersome for the PFA to maintain an up-to-date record of employees/pensioners. When an employee switches job or changes location probably from one state to another, it takes time before these changes can be effected in the employee‟s record. All these manual processes have resulted in problems such as:
- Theft and fraudulent practices in the process of investing pension funds and the return on investments
- Human errors i.e. in crediting of a pensioner‟s account
- Wastage of materials such as paper, files and so on,
- Lack of adequate information flow among PFA personnels .i.e. PFA‟s are unable to give their customers clear information as to what their balance is and what is the estimated amount of money they will be collecting if they retire.
- The stress of pensioners having to go to PFA‟s office.
A web-based pension fund management system is a system designed to manage pension activities both on the customers and Pension Fund Administrators (PFA) ends. The pension management activities on the part of PFAs include regular update of customers‟ information, crediting of customers‟ account if the customer is retired etc while customers‟ activities include checking their balance online, making enquiries by sending mails, etc. Every customer has a
Retirement Savings Account (RSA) with a Pension Fund Administrator (PFA) and each customer accesses his or her account from a browser: software that runs internet pension management system that is hosted on the PFA‟s World Wide
Web server. It provides a variety of attractive possibilities for remote access such as:
- Availability of enquiry service at all time
- Accessibility anywhere in the world
- Availability of information to customers on the fly