The National Pension System (NPS) is a voluntary defined contribution pension system in India. National Pension System, like PPF and EPF is an EEE (Exempt-Exempt-Exempt) instrument in India where entire corpus escapes tax at maturity and entire pension withdrawal amount is tax-free.
Unlike traditional financial products where all the functions (sales, operations, service, fund management, depository) are done by one company, NPS follows an unbundled architecture where each step of the value chain has been made disjointed from the other. This unbundling not only allows the customer to mix and match his providers of service through the value chain, picking the best-suited option, but it also curbs the incidence of misselling.
NPS architecture consists of the NPS Trust, which is entrusted with safeguarding subscribers’ interests, Central Recordkeeping Agencies (CRAs) which maintains the data and records, Point of Presence (POP) as collection, distribution and servicing arms, pension fund managers (PFM) for managing the investments of subscribers, a custodian to take care of the assets purchased by the fund managers, and a trustee bank to manage the banking operations.
SBI Pension Funds is the largest pension fund manager (PFM) in India and its assets under management(AUM) level is Rs 61,000 crore. At Present, Central government employees have no say in the matter of choice of fund manager or investment allocation in NPS, as both are decided by the government. All the NPS contributions of Central government employees are being distributed evenly across three public sector fund managers :LIC Pension Fund, SBI Pension Fund and UTI Retirement Solutions.