The Pension Fund Tourism Sector Seminar Received with Great Enthusiasm

The Pension Fund Tourism Sector Aruba offered an informative Pension Seminar on November  18th, 2011, at the Holiday Inn Sunspree, followed by a networking opportunity.

The afternoon featured  a number of speakers, including his Excellency the Prime Minister of Aruba, Mr. Mike Eman, as well as Past President of the FTA, Anselmo Pontilius, tourism pioneer Harold Malmberg, Pension specialist Laurens H.M. Keesen and Jossy Lacle, the current President of the PFTSA Board.

Managing Director Sanaa Baroud welcomed guests on behalf of the PFTSA, stating that the pension fund is already twenty years old. Funded by visionaries and pioneers of the islands tourism industry it has grown over the years to 3,000 members.  In her welcome notes she introduced the board members, Jossy Lacle, Glenn Faro, Rudy Geerman, Nataly Wouters, Ton Kolman, Valerie Pietersz Camacho and Ann Brinkman, all members of the local business community and invited companies to join the straight forward and sensible plan offered by the FPTSA, a not-for-profit organization.

Chairman of the Board Jossy Lacle then explained that as part of the enlightened, social minded world, the Aruban government also believes that older persons of the community have the unconditional right to income security,  and old age Pension, which is the most effective way to provide dignity to members of society as they age.

Lacle stated: “And we cannot deny that the world is aging fast. As stated by Global Action on Aging, a non-profit organization headquartered in NY and affiliated to the United Nations Economic and Social Council, developing nations increasingly face difficulties supporting their older population. In most developing countries, the elderly live at the bottom of the socio-economic strata. For the first time in history there will be more people over 60 than under 15. “A gray tsunami is sweeping the planet. So Aruba has just made the decision to mandate savings for pension on time, and can be an example for the global community,” Lacle enthused.

By providing fair income to older persons, Lacle informed, the government can meet its obligation to protect the most vulnerable sector in our society.  But that of course is not enough to provide for the elderly who often care for their grandchildren and other members of their extended family, buying food, supplies, paying utilities and providing clothes and school materials, he shared.

The Mandatory Pension law which will be coming into effect on January 1st, 2012, will enforce saving for old age with the participation of the employee and the employer, building a nest-egg of retirement savings together. “And yes we have to do this,” Lacle inspired, “not just because we care, but because we also care for the coming generations.”

In the second half of his address Lacle went on to describe the PFTSA, a non-profit entity, that was founded in 1992 as the initiative of the Aruba Hotel and Tourism Association and the Federacion di Trahadornan di Aruba (FTA), as they both shared the same vision for the need to create a pension plan which would provide employees in the tourism industry with additional income after retirement on top of the general old age pension provided by the government.

PFTSA, he explained, safeguards the savings into a solid fund reporting to the Central Bank of Aruba on a monthly basis.

At present, Lacle clarified, there are more than 3,000 members in more than 40 prestigious local organizations that trust the PFTSA with their retirement funds, and the board does not take its responsibility lightly, as they are personally accountable for growing the investment portfolio steadily but conservatively and in so doing ensuring the solidity of the fund.

“We manage the funds as if it were our own,” Lacle reiterated, ”investing in government bonds and time deposits here and in the Dutch Caribbean, we make careful real estate investments and also of importance as a service to our members, we make mortgages available at a very reasonable rate. We keep a small and effective administration, in-house, in our offices on Caya Ernesto Petronia which you are invited to visit anytime, since we make customer service and value to our customers, one of our top priorities. We keep our expenses low and our overhead small. You are welcome to look at our annual audited financial reports on our web site Total transparency is one of the PFTSA’s core values and to prove that point we make on-line access ( available to both employee and employer,” he enlightened.

Lacle made clear that PFTSA’s clients are employed in the Tourism Sector of Aruba.  And all payments of member companies are based on the actual amount of employees per month, which results in a very accurate payment of pension contributions.

Lacle then went on to explain the simple and straight forward Pension Plan, including the option of partners’ pension, and orphan pensions, to protect families against unforeseen tragedies. In case of a disability, he stated, the coverage awarded by the PFTSA represents 100% of the last contribution. As it stands, participants save a minimum of 6% towards their retirement divided equally among employee and employer while giving the employee the opportunity to save additional funds up to 9%.

Moreover, the employee may also make additional contributions of 2% retroactively and all contributions towards the Pension Fund are non taxable.

To join, Lacle described, the employer must become a PFTSA member, and participants should be over 18 years old, and must earn a minimum of Awg 1,542.90 a month, according to the new pension law draft.

From the employer’s point of view, Lacle stressed, the PFTSA promises to provide HR personnel with excellent training and in the process of enrolling staff the PFTSA will present information sessions in different languages so that employees are confident with their choice of plan, including individual presentations if necessary.

In July of every year the PFTSA provides members and participants with the annual Pension Benefit Statements and most importantly, mutations are worked out during the same month, making reports, and consequently company payments completely accurate.

The fund, Lacle said, prides itself for on-time payments, to all our participants, and all the administration is done in-house.

At the end of his presentation, Lacle explained that exactly because many agreed that the AOV government pension provides insufficient coverage at retirement, the PFTSA was instituted. Now this notion has been put into a law, and by means of the seminar the PFTSA is inviting entities in the tourism sector to join, as the organization is solid and transparent, with a clear and effective pension plan that is supervised by the Central Bank of Aruba.

On a personal note Lacle shared that he has worked during his career of 38 years for the private and the public sectors, and now while enjoying his pension himself he appreciates the honor of Chairing the Board of a Pension Fund Tourism Sector Aruba. “I believe I am qualified to tell you we are an excellent choice for retirement pension, and you can put your trust in us,” he concluded.

Pictured here some seminar impressions.

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November 19, 2011
Rona Coster