Karvy grabs a share of the National Pension System pieKarvy Computershare was chosen by the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) as the second Central Record-Keeping Agency (CRA) in the NPS in early 2017 and commenced its services from 1st April 2017. CRAs maintain subscriber records, issue PRAN cards and process transactions like fund switches, asset allocation changes and withdrawals.

A larger role is played by them when a subscriber opens an NPS account online. In this situation, they replace the PoP (Point-of-Presence) as the subscriber’s first point of contact and primary NPS interface. A good or bad CRA experience can greatly affect whether a subscriber opens an NPS account at all. The URLs of Karvy and NSDL are enps.karvy.com and enps.nsdl.com.

Within roughly one year of launching, Karvy CRA has enrolled 23,585 subscribers and amassed an AUM of 109.28 crores. This is far behind the 1.15 crore subscribers enrolled and 2.33 lakh crore managed by its rival NSDL. However, there are a number of reasons to conclude that the gap is smaller than it seems.

How many subscribers per CRA?

Karvy CRA had 23,585 subscribers as of 28th April 2018. The bulk of these was in the All-Citizen Model which is open to self-employed persons as well as private sector employees whose employers do not participate in the NPS corporate model. Additionally, Karvy also had 908 subscribers under the Corporate Sector NPS and 54 under the NPS for Central Autonomous Bodies (CAB).

Here is the break-up:

Sector Number of Subscribers Total

Assets Under Management

(Rs. Cr.)

Central Government
Central Autonomous Bodies (CAB) 54
State Government
Corporate 908 19.96

(All Citizen Model)

22,623 89.32
NPS Lite
Total 23,585 109.2

Source: PFRDA, Data as on 28th April 2018

NSDL (which is owned by IDBI Bank, UTI and NSE Ltd.) had 1.15 crore subscribers on 30th April 2018. However, the vast majority of these (58 crore) were government employees or NPS lite subscribers (44 crores). These subscribers do not have a choice when it comes to their CRA, they must stick with what their employer (government) chooses. We have also ignored the 97.5 lakh Atal Pension Yojana (APY) subscribers because they also do not have a choice.

The real competition between the two players comes into play in the Corporate and All Citizens Models. NSDL’s tally here is 7.02 lakhs (Corporate sector) and 6.81 (All Citizens). However, it has enjoyed a head-start here being the sole NPS CRA for over a decade before Karvy was licensed in 2017. NSDL is also the sole CRA for Atal Pension Yojana (APY) subscribers.

Sector Number of Subscribers Total

Assets Under Management

(Rs. Cr.)

Central Government 19,29,483 85,817.25
State Government 38,72,193 1,17,177.57
Corporate 7,02,090 21,821.07

(All Citizen Model)

6,81,068 6,051.37
NPS Lite 43,93,631 3,030.91
Total 1,15,78,465 2,33,898.17

Source: PFRDA, Data as on 30th April 2018

Does it matter?

CRAs make very small amounts of money for essentially clerical activities. They make Rs 40 per account opened, Rs 95 per account maintained (per year) and Rs 3.75 per transaction conducted. Their activities are also essentially clerical in nature, to do with subscriber records and transaction processing.

However relatively ‘minor’ issues with these tasks can have sizeable knock-on effects on subscriber registration and customer satisfaction. A minor fault with the online NPS form can dissuade a subscriber from opening an NPS account causing him to potentially lose a major tax benefit and a source of retirement funding.

Considering this, competition among NPS CRAs is a healthy sign. You can switch between CRAs once a year.

Neil Borate

Neil Borate is Deputy Editor, RupeeIQ. He can be contacted at neil@rupeeiq.com.