Mario Fetalino

Sharp investments boon to state pension fund

February 22, 2024 Mario Fetalino Jr. 81 views

ASTUTE investing practices are seen to boost the life of the state pension fund for the benefit of more than 2.5 million government workers and retirees.

Such moves, according to the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), have enabled the agency to increase its revenues from Php234.9 billion to Php311.3 billion in 2023.

As a result, GSIS also recorded a 70% surge in net income from Php66.4 billion to Php 113.3 billion, and a staggering 3,903% rise in total comprehensive income from Php3.6 billion to Php 143.4 billion compared to the prior year.

GSIS remains to be strong as it continues to search for yield to boost its generation of revenue. To this end, it has increased focus on alternative investment including private equity and real estate.

Despite the challenges markets faced last year, strategic and proactive management of both its stocks and bonds portfolio resulted in a favorable rate of return for the Fund.

“We continue to push and do our best to boost long-term profitability of the GSIS and support the overall economy. We strive to establish a diversified portfolio by securing new investment opportunities.

Our risk profile has remained balanced with our fixed income having extended its average tenor to 7.8 years while maintaining average yield at 7.3% in a climate of declining rates,” GSIS President and general manager Wick Veloso said.

GSIS’s total assets increased by 11% from Php1.5 trillion to Php1.7 trillion.

With more earnings, the state pension fund becomes more committed to deliver high tech services to its members including pensioners abroad.

Infact, pensioners based in the United States and Singapore may now use the GSIS Touch, the mobile app of GSIS, in complying with the proof of life requirement dubbed Annual Pensioners Information Revalidation (APIR) and other transactions.

GSIS pensioners in the US and Singapore comprise 78% of the 18,000 pensioners based abroad. Pensioners who are based in the US as indicated in their GSIS records may download, register, and utilize the GSIS Touch mobile app.

The GSIS will send a one-time personal identification number (OTP) to their email listed in the GSIS database to register. In Singapore, GSIS Touch may be used by GSIS pensioners who have already downloaded the GSIS Touch and registered in the app.

The GSIS Touch has a facial recognition feature for APIR, making it seamless and convenient for pensioners to update their status without physically going to the GSIS. They need to undergo APIR or report their status to ensure continuous receipt of their pension.

“We call on our members and pensioners to use the GSIS Touch for their transactions. We made it available to pensioners abroad as our response to their clamor to allow them to experience its innovative and convenient service.

This shows that we listen to our stakeholders and we value their insights and perspectives. Moreover, the enhancements in the GSIS Touch underscores GSIS’s commitment to support the government’s digitalization initiatives, aiming for faster, broader and more convenient service,” Veloso added.

The online feature of the GSIS Touch was initially available to pensioners in the Philippines. After extending the app’s reach to pensioners in the US and Singapore, the GSIS is already working on rolling it out to pensioners residing in other parts of the world including Europe, Middle East, and Canada.

At present, they may use alternative modes for their APIR such as via Skype, Messenger, and Viber. In the enhanced app, members can also view their updated amortization schedule for loans.

Launched during the height of the pandemic in 2020 with an initial user base of 37,144 that grew to 1,095,452 at present, the GSIS Touch has proven to be a game-changer, allowing members and pensioners access to vital information from membership and pension records to insurance policies.

The app also enables users to generate tentative computations, apply for loans and claims and keep track of their premium remittances and loan payments.

The GSIS Touch also caters to modern security needs, offering biometric login options such as fingerprint or facial recognition for users with smartphones with biometrics feature.

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