Dreaming of a better life after pension is not out of place when one has adequately invested into the future. Being a life sequence that cannot be ruled out, many people save towards this end.
However, for some customers of the 53 defunct fund management companies, their hopes of reaping the benefits of their sweat during their pension days have been dashed because their investments have locked up.
Customers of these collapsed financial institutions especially Gold Coast Fund Management, now Blackshield Capital Management, have embarked on a number of demonstrations and held press conferences in their quest to retrieve their monies.
They say the trust reposed in the owner, Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom, was the reason why they chose that investment firm.
Gilbert Kwesi Arthur, one of the pensioners, told Citi Business News, “So far as I was concerned, I thought that Papa Kwesi Nduom was a responsible person; someone who wanted to be President of Ghana, so I still had hope that he would not put us in any trouble”.
For 71 year old Mary Grunisky, her hope for a better life after pension has been suppressed. Looking after her 40-year old son with a medical condition together with her own medical complications has been a tedious responsibility.
Her hope was to complete the investment and have a fully furnished residence for herself out of her GHC125, 000 investment, but things didn’t go as planned.
Her uncompleted house leaks whenever there is a heavy rainfall leaving her compound flooded.
She could not hide her emotions as she narrated her ordeal to Citi Business News.
“I know that sometimes I can’t go out. If I want to stand up, I can’t so I gave the money to my daughter with the aim that she will keep it at some bank and she told me that no, she will invest it at Paa Kwesi’s bank so that after sometime, I will be getting some small money. So we started but about two years now, but now nothing is coming”
Samuel Kpakpo Addo, a former employee of the Customs Service with over GHC35, 000 of his investment locked up with Gold Coast Fund Management, says “Instead of taking three square meals, I take one, now that I have taken some fruits, I am waiting for 10:00am to eat and when I eat around that time, I do not eat again till 6:00pm”
Upon a visit to his residence, Mr. Arthur, who is an 81 year old pensioner, said if only he had his GHC100, 000 investment from the fund management, he would have been able to operate his workshop which processes wood, grow his flower and bee business with the assistance of labourers.
“I have never been a lazy person, my money was always to work and since my money has been somehow blocked, it has deteriorated my lifestyle. I have to maintain my house. My roof is leaking; I can’t work on it, my fence is broken; I can’t work on it. I spend not less than GHC300 a month, that is why I am alive. My feeding is also a problem” he lamented.
Beatrice, a married woman with three kids who’s partially blind, also has her cash locked up. It was a duty for her and the husband to cater for the children; but currently with her locked up cash; her husband has been the sole provider for the home. The impact of Covid-19 has also added to her affliction.
These customers of the defunct fund management companies most of whom are pensioners are calling for government’s assistance and quick payment of their locked up monies.
Mary Grunisky in her plea to government said “I had to save the money so I can be getting something small to take care of my sick son. He cannot talk. He is 40 years old. I have to bath him and do everything to feed him so we are pleading with the government to pay us our money”.
On Friday November 8 2019, the Securities and Exchange Commission revoked the licenses of 53 fund management companies pursuant to section 122 (2) (b) of the Securities Industry Act, 2019 ACT 929 which authorizes SEC to revoke the license of a market operator under some circumstances.
The reason for the revocation according to SEC was because of the companies’ failure to return client funds which remained locked up, and the fact that in a number of cases, some of the companies had even folded up their operations.
According to the Receiver for the defunct fund management companies, Jemima Oware, the liquidation process of the assets of these defunct companies can only commence after the high court grants an order giving her the authority to proceed.
Meanwhile, the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, has said the investors of the collapsed fund management companies would soon have access to their funds when their claims are successfully validated.
Government’s numerous assurances to pay the aggrieved customers are yet to be fulfilled.