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Kazakh deputy demands answers from National Bank for pension losses

Single Pension Fund ©Tengrinews file photo Single Pension Fund ©Tengrinews file photo

Mazhilis deputy Mukhtar Tinikeyev has demanded an explanation from the leaders of the National Bank of Kazakhstan as to why 90 billion tenge ($484 million) of pension savings were written off after the unification of all Kazakhstan's pension funds into the Single Pension Fund.

During the presentation in the lower house of the Parliament of amendments to the legislation on pensions, Tinikeyev called onto the bankers to be jailed over the loss of money, Tengrinews reports.

"What happened to the money? Each bank had its insurance companies, and they were just using the (pension) money for insurance matters. Using them to pay off loans, reaped the benefits and now they say 'We don’t know.' These bankers should be jailed,” he said, adding that many people had 70-90 thousand tenge ($380-480) deducted from their accounts because of the write off.

The unification of all the pension funds in Kazakhstan began in 2013. There were ten of them. In 2013 the Single Pension fund took over four funds and in 2014 it took the remaining five (the tenth initially served as the base for the new unified fund).

“When we took in all of those assets, we found a lot of discrepancies - one and the same financial instrument could listed at different prices in different pension funds. Therefore, we had to bringing them all to the single price. We hired independent experts from one of the "big four" to conducted a full audit. After the audit, we brought them to a uniform price and had to spread out the loss of 90 billion ($484 million) across the pension system," Deputy Chairman of the National Bank Dina Galiyeva said.

The deputy didn’t seem to be impressed with the explanation. “You hire foreign auditors, pay them a fortune. What do they give you? Did they give you the names of those who stole the money, or told you what happened to the money? How much did you pay those foreign auditors?” Tinikeyev said.

Dina Galiyeva said that 90 billion tenge “is just 2% of all the savings.” The audit was completed by KPMG, who recommended writing off the junk assets.

The value of all pension savings in Kazakhstan is 4.5 trillion tenge, she said. Since March 26, 2014, when the National Bank took control of the assets, it already made a profit of around 8.5%.

According to the website of the Single Pension Fund, pension savings of Kazakhstanis have grown by 784.4 billion tenge in 2014. The total amount of investment income on the pension system allocated to the depositors amounted to 234.4 billion tenge.

The yield of pension assets of the Fund was 6.31% in annual terms, significantly higher than the yield in 2013, which amounted to 2.2%.

The Fund said that the upward trend in investment income is being retained in 2015. Investment income earned by the Fund in two first months of 2015 and distributed to the individual pension accounts of its depositors equaled to 37.65 billion tenge. The total amount of pension savings on March 1, 2015 amounted to 4.6 trillion tenge.

By Dinara Urazova (Renat Tashkinbayev contributed to the story)

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