National Commission of the Retirement Savings System (Mexico)

Comisión Nacional del Sistema de Ahorro para el Retiro (CONSAR)

Country

Location

Regulated area

Mexico

Mexico City

Banking

Useful pages on the regulator website

Key individuals

  • Abraham Everardo Vela Dib, President
  • Octavio Ballinas García, Finance Vice-President
  • Antonio S Reyna Castillo, Legal Vice-President
  • Víctor Rafael Baeza Bravo, Head of Operations
  • Alberto Monroy González, Finance Supervisor

Regulatory oversight

The Mexican Law of Retirement Savings sets forth that the CONSAR will be the agency responsible for regulating the retirement savings systems as well as its participants’ activities. Such participants include banks, retirement fund management service companies (AFOREs), specialised retirement fund investment companies (SIEFOREs) and other companies that may render services to them.

In addition, retirement saving systems are regulated by the Mexican social security regulations that foresee that the mandatory contributions made by workers, employers and the Mexican state are managed through individual accounts owned by workers in order to accumulate savings for their future retirement.

The Law of Retirement Savings sets forth that AFOREs are those Mexican companies that ordinarily and professionally manage workers’ pension funds in accordance with the applicable employment and social security regulations. Likewise, SIEFOREs are companies managed by AFOREs that are authorised exclusively to invest resources from workers’ individual accounts. In this regard, AFOREs must manage an adequate return on investments made by SIEFOREs, and shall exclusively serve workers’ interests since the invested resources belong to them. SIEFOREs shall at all times seek the highest possible returns and safety for their investments through operations with various securities and instruments, as long as they are authorised by the CONSAR and, if applicable, with a positive opinion of the Comisión Nacional Bancaria y de Valores (CNBV) (National Banking and Securities Commission) and the Mexican Central Bank. The degree of investment risk varies mostly depending on workers’ ages: that is, the risk profile of investments will decrease as workers age.

The CONSAR is governed by a President, who is the head of a governing board integrated by several officials such as the Head of the Ministries of Finance and Public Credit, Labour and Social Welfare, the Governor of the Mexican Central Bank, the Undersecretary of Finance and Public Credit, the General Director of the Mexican Social Security Institute, the General Director of the Institute of the National Workers’ Housing Fund, the General Director of the Institute of Security and Social Services for State Workers, the President of the National Banking and Securities Commission, and the President of the National Insurance and Bonding Commission.

As a decentralised government agency, the CONSAR, together with the CNBV and the Comisión Nacional de Seguros y Fianzas (CNSF) (National Insurance and Bonding Commission), reports directly to the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit. Therefore, the CONSAR has the authority to issue secondary regulations and general provisions on retirement savings and to monitor the activities of AFOREs and SIEFOREs. Since banks are primarily regulated by the CNBV, the CONSAR also has limited authority over them.

Due to the fact that workers and employers must submit mandatory retirement deposits that are included in their social security fees, the CONSAR is a fundamental part of the Mexican financial system, since SIEFOREs represent the largest group of investors in the country in monetary terms. In such regard, SIEFOREs may invest worker’s assets and operate them in order to obtain the highest possible returns on investment.

Similarly, the CONSAR establishes the guidelines, in its general provisions, that AFOREs and SIEFOREs shall follow in financial matters – such as investment regimes and the thresholds for the acquisition of foreign securities – and non-financial matters – such as their business operations, customer service and advertisements – and other regulatory requirements that such companies are required to follow. Such general provisions also regulate the thresholds that AFOREs and SIEFOREs require to invest in foreign securities.

Reporting and disclosure obligations

There are no reporting and disclosure obligations for companies to this regulator. However, the customary reporting and disclosing of information required by the Comisión Nacional para la Protección y Defensa de los Usuarios de Servicios Financieros (CONDUSEF) (National Commission for the Protection and Defence of Users of Financial Services) apply to AFOREs and SIEFOREs.

AFOREs shall also appoint a regulatory supervisor who shall have, among other obligations, the duty to inform the CONSAR, on a monthly basis, of his or her compliance with the obligations under his or her charge, as well as about any irregularities he or she may be aware of in the performance of his or her duties.

Monetary sanctions and recent behaviour

The retirement savings system includes several sanctions that could apply to their regulatory supervisors, independent advisers, directors, officers, attorneys-in-fact, agents, employees and other related persons. In general, sanctions are imposed for non-compliance with the CONSAR regulations on, inter alia, the following matters:

  • know your client procedures;
  • asset management transparency;
  • consumer protection; and
  • fraud prevention.

Monetary sanctions vary from 8,500 pesos to 230,780 pesos. In general, these measures apply only to AFOREs, since they are responsible for managing SIEFOREs. However, it is possible that banks or other participants in the retirement savings system may be subject to some of them.

Non-monetary sanctioning powers and behaviour

Non-monetary sanctions imposed by the CONSAR may include an administrative intervention in AFOREs and SIEFOREs, and a loss of equity participation for shareholders for the benefit of the nation.

In such regard, the term administrative intervention refers to the replacement of the administrative functions of an AFORE or SIEFORE by the CONSAR. Although this measure is uncommon in practice, it is a mechanism provided for by law that must be taken into account in the calculation of the eventual contingencies to which any participant in the retirement savings system could be subject in the event of non-compliance with the regulations on the matter.

Furthermore, federal crimes can be committed by participants’ regulatory supervisors, independent advisers, directors, officers, attorneys-in-fact, agents, employees and other related persons. Since crimes in Mexico are only prosecuted by the competent criminal authorities and therefore the sanctions can be categorised as non-monetary sanctions, the CONSAR does not have jurisdiction to prosecute crimes directly. Because such crimes are regulated by federal law, they will only be prosecuted by the federal authorities.

Recent and upcoming developments

The migration to the new investment regime for SIEFOREs was successfully completed in May 2019. This regime is based on a scheme of generational SIEFOREs under which workers are grouped according to their year of birth, and it is therefore possible for SIEFOREs to operate with their assets in a more appropriate manner according to the time remaining until workers’ retirement.

This new scheme of generational SIEFOREs is specifically designed to provide results in terms of income for the retirement stage of workers’ lives. Under this scheme, a worker is assigned a SIEFORE according to his or her year of birth and remains in that vehicle until his or her retirement. The investment of workers’ savings will be adjusted within the same fund. In contrast to the previous regime, workers will no longer change their SIEFORE as they advance to the next age group, which will allow them to take better advantage of the long-term benefits of the investment of their resources. Workers will remain in the same generational SIEFORE throughout their working life, and the investment strategy will be adapted over time towards increasingly conservative investments as they approach their retirement age. This change of regime does not affect the freedom of workers to request to be placed in a different SIEFORE than the one corresponding to their generation. In other words, workers have the flexibility to choose the risk and return conditions that they consider most convenient.

This change is of vital importance since, as previously mentioned, SIEFOREs constitute the largest group of investors in the Mexican capital market in monetary terms, and with the new investment scheme, SIEFOREs have greater flexibility to invest the resources they manage.

Challenges

At the moment, all participants in retirement savings systems are challenged by the current economic outlook in Mexico. In this regard, investment strategies must be designed to promote national development while protecting workers’ resources at all times and providing them with the highest possible returns. In this respect, the CONSAR shall seek at all times the healthy development of the retirement savings system in coordination with the other institutions of both the Mexican financial and social security systems.

Although the healthy development of the financial markets is not only the responsibility of the CONSAR (the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit, the Mexican Central Bank and the National Banking and Securities Commission are also responsible), the CONSAR is responsible for the performance and behaviour of SIEFOREs, and hence the proper operation of this fundamental part of the financial system is of great national importance.

Interacting with the regulator

Only participants in the retirement savings system are under the CONSAR’s regulation, and therefore it is uncommon for companies doing business in Mexico to interact with such authority unless they carry out or intend to carry out related activities. However, in the case of banks that include AFOREs or SIEFOREs among their corporate groups, they will be subject to regulations issued by the CONSAR, but only for those aspects that include the operation and participation of banks in AFOREs or SIEFOREs.

Notes for foreign investors

In the event that a SIEFORE intends to invest in debt instruments issued by entities other than the Mexican federal government, such instruments must be previously qualified by an internationally recognised rating agency. In the case of the acquisition of shares, they must meet the legal conditions required for their issuance in the Mexican securities market.

Likewise, SIEFOREs may acquire foreign securities as long as they are authorised to do so by the CONSAR and they do not exceed 20% of their total assets. Therefore, it will be necessary to submit a foreign asset to the CONSAR’s authorisation prior to its acquisition by a SIEFORE.

Other regulators it works closely with

On a regular basis, the regulator works closely with the following authorities in Mexico:

  • Secretaría de Hacienda y Crédito Público (SHCP): Ministry of Finance and Public Credit;
  • Secretaría del Trabajo y Previsión Social (STPS): Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare;
  • Banco de México: Mexican Central Bank;
  • Comisión Nacional Bancaria y de Valores (CNBV): National Banking and Securities Commission;
  • Comisión Nacional para la Protección y Defensa de los Usuarios de Servicios Financieros (CONDUSEF): National Commission for the Protection and Defense of Users of Financial Services;
  • Comisión Nacional de Seguros y Fianzas (CNSF): National Commission of Insurance and Bonding;
  • Instituto del Fondo Nacional de la Vivienda para los Trabajadores (INFONAVIT): National Workers' Housing Fund Institute);
  • Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social (IMSS): Mexican Social Security Institute; and
  • Instituto de Seguridad y Servicios Sociales de los Trabajadores del Estado (ISSSTE): Institute for Social Security and Services for State Workers.

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