Brazilian Adventist Retirement and Assistance Institute

By Carlos Alberto Ferri

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Carlos Alberto Ferri

The Brazilian Adventist Retirement and Assistance Institute (IAJA) is a Seventh-day Adventist Church pension institution, which operates in the South American Division territory. Its headquarters is located on L3 Sul Ave., Setor de Grandes Áreas Sul (SGAS), block 611, ZIP code 70200-710, Set D, Part C, South Wing, in the city of Brasília, Federal District, Brazil.

In legal terms, Brazilian Adventist Retirement and Assistance Institute is a “closed complementary pension entity, non-profit civil society, administrative and financially independent,” which carries out its activities all over the Brazilian territory through regional and local depictions. Its beneficiaries are employees who work for the Seventh-day Adventists, as well as their dependents, all over the country extension.1

Origin

Brazilian Adventist Retirement and Assistance Institute has its biggest roots in the Seventh-day Adventist care plan for its workers, established in the early days of the denomination. With the church official organization, in May 1863, the institution grew and settled, first in Battle Creek, in the United States–where there were 125 congregations. At the time, the church had about three thousand five hundred members.2 In the following decade, due to the evangelistic expansion and the growth in number of collaborators, the church acknowledged the need for creating a subsistence plan for people who dedicated their lives to preaching the Adventist message, as ministers and other professionals.3

The idea of creating a trust fund for assisting workers that, for some reason (sickness or old age), didn’t have the conditions of performing its respective roles, was discussed on many occasions. In 1902 Ellen G. White, one of the Adventist pioneers and cofounders, talked in many letters about the need of creating a fund for supporting its collaborators. As time went by, this need only grew and, in 1911, the church raised a fund for the sick, the elderly, and the disabled. This fund was raised in the United States and had as its beneficiaries the North American ministers, just as the ones that were sent as missionaries to other parts of the world. Over the years the measure taken by the denomination expanded and started including assistance to a wide range of retired workers.4

Organization

In 1916, after having been created in the United States, the South American Division also voted on the creation of this subsistence fund in South America, basing the same principles carried out in the North American territory.5 The constituent and founding entities of this fund in Brazil were the Seventh-day Adventist Brazil Unions Confederation and the Seventh-day Adventist South Brazil Union Conference (present Central Brazil Union Conference).6 Initially, the institution was known as Seventh-day Adventist Church Brazilian Adventist Retirement and Assistance to the Workers Institute. Later, due to federal law requirement no. 6.435/1977, the name of the institution was changed to Brazilian Adventist Retirement and Assistance Institute.7 Among the first Brazilian Adventist Retirement and Assistance Institute leaders, there was Enoch de Oliveira as president, and the council was comprised of Roy Ernest Brooks, Roberto Gullón Canedo, Daniel Nestares, Nelcy Nunes Viegas, John David Woodin, and Jurandir de Oliveira as manager.8

Brazilian Adventist Retirement and Assistance Institute bylaw is still applicable, “was registered under no. 230, in Book A.1 (one), in the 1st Civil and Marriage Registry Office, Titles, Documents, and Legal Persons in the Federal District, on November 14, 1979, having the Ordinance MPAS-PT-GM no. 1531, on May 11, 1979, published in the Union Official Journal (DOU) of May 16, 1979, authorizing its operation.”9 Brazilian Adventist Retirement and Assistance Institute has the mission of managing all resources placed under its responsibility, with the goal of supporting in pension the workers who dedicated themselves to the Adventist services.10

History

Although the Brazilian Adventist Retirement and Assistance Institute had emerged in 1916, the church subsistence fund was organized only as a civil society under the nomenclature of “Brazilian Adventist Retirement and Assistance Institute” on November 8, 1977. Later, on June 24, 1979, the Brazilian Adventist Retirement and Assistance Institute administrative board gathered in Brasília with the goal of discussing an ordinance edited by the Brazilian Pension and Social Assistance Minister–federal law that supported the Adventists on administering its retirement plans.11 On this occasion the necessary adjustments were made in a way that the institution had its bylaws and procedures adapted for assisting government demands.

As a result, since 1980, the Brazilian Adventist Retirement and Assistance Institute has been developing pension plans, ensuring a “complementary income for the participants’ (SDA collaborators) retirement.”12 The pension resources are captured and managed in the form of “fund,” administered by the institution. The management responsible for this fund provides to its contributors various benefits, which are set by its sponsors and founders. Since its organization, until today, the Brazilian Adventist Retirement and Assistance Institute has three benefit levels: the defined benefit (the amount received in retirement is defined in the hiring), the defined contribution (the amount received varies according to the contribution given), and the variable contribution (the participant may vary the value of contribution).13

The Brazilian Adventist Retirement and Assistance Institute currently offers three retirement plans: Alpha, Beta, and Gamma. The Alpha plan is a complimentary benefit, framed into the defined benefit mode. Its costs are based in a capitalization regime carried out in a solitary way among the participants included. Then the contributor pays 5.48 percent, while the sponsoring entity pays 17.19 percent. In this plan the contributor must carry out 13 contributions during the year: 12 monthly and one on the thirteenth salary. Currently, this plan is closed for new members.14

The Beta plan is part of the defined or variable contribution mode. In the accumulation phase the defined contribution is maintained, while in the benefit perception phase (when the contributor benefits from the resources), the defined benefit is used. This benefit is received according to the participant’s accumulated value. The plan also maintains a distinct contribution percentage for married and single workers. The single one contributes with 7.68 percent, while the married, with 10.48 percent. But the patronal contribution, which remains the same in both cases, is about 2.65 percent of the participant’s salary. The Beta plan is currently in a build-up phase.15

The last retirement plan that has been offered by the Brazilian Adventist Retirement and Assistance Institute since 2010 is the Gama plan, which is framed in the defined contribution mode. This plan is focused on Adventist canvassers and pastors. To build the workers’ retirement reserve, the sponsoring institution contributes with 1 percent upon its payment, and the worker contributes amounts within 1 percent and 13 percent of its payment. In this plan the institution allows a sporadic contribution from the participant, which has to be at least 30 percent in comparison to its salary. From the minimal limit set, the registered individual can contribute with any desired amount.16

One of the main challenges faced by the institution was the closed complementary pension plan regulation–carried out by the federal government in 1977. In this context, the Seventh-day Adventist Church needed to adjust the Brazilian Adventist Retirement and Assistance Institute to the set of rules established by the institution along with the state. It was due to the formalities, rules, approvals, and inspections that the Alpha plan emerged–mentioned previously. In this plan all workers who devoted themselves exclusively to the Adventists were included. Later, in 2003, new changes took place. Since the market could no longer handle the defined benefit mode plan’s risks, the defined contribution plans were created.17

Nowadays, the Brazilian Adventist Retirement and Assistance Institute has a total of 25 sponsoring entities18 and 7,425 active participants. This number grew throughout the years, revealing a constant progress in the works held by the institution. In 2000 there were 3,067 active participants; in 2005, 3,617; in 2010, 5,737; and in 2015, 4,425 contributors. As for the plan beneficiaries, there are 1,177 people assisted by the Brazilian Adventist Retirement and Assistance Institute, of which 869 are men and 308 are women. Among these people 10 percent are within 55 to 64 years old; 40 percent from 65 to 74; 30 percent from 75 to 84; and 20 percent are 85 or older. The average age of these retirees is 74 years. The number of retirees also grew with time, ranging from 663 in 2000 to 1,177 in 2019.19

The retirees’ lifespan is one of the prominent factors in the workers' profiling that were attended by the Brazilian Adventist Retirement and Assistance Institute. The life expectancy for people is around 94 years. “When comparing with IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics), we find that our retirees live longer, probably because of their lifestyle. Our retirees are healthier and live longer because of their healthcare.”20 The Brazilian Adventist Retirement and Assistance Institute contributes so that this lifespan is experienced with the needed pension safety to those who devoted their lives to the Lord’s work.

Until 1976 the South American Division headquarters was in the city of Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay. In 1976 the division moved from Uruguay to Brazil, and the Institute accompanied its move. Since then the institute has always been in the South American Division headquarters in Brasília, without no further change of address.21

Role and Place in the World Church and its Mission

The Brazilian Adventist Retirement and Assistance Institute works to ensure to the Adventist workers, and their families, the pension benefits complementary to the official Brazilian government-offered pension, in order to contribute to the quality of life of its beneficiaries’ lives. The institution’s resources originate from personal and patronal contributions of 25 entities, among them the South American Division and the Brazilian Adventist Retirement and Assistance Institute itself. Other sponsoring organizations are: the South Brazil Union Conference, Social Communication Maranatha Foundation, Northeast Brazil Union Mission, Superbom, Central Brazil Union Conference, Brazil College, Instituto Paulista Adventista de Educação e Assistência Social (São Paulo Adventist Education and Social Assistance Institute), Brazilian Publishing House, Programa Adventista de Saúde (Adventist Health Program), Adventist Communication System, North Brazil Union Conference, Instituição Adventista Central Brasileira de Educação e Assistência Social (Central Brazil Adventist Education and Social Assistance Institute), East Brazil Union Conference of Adventists Association.22

Alongside with these instituitons, there are others such as Instituição Adventista Nordeste Brasileira de Educação e Assistência Social (Northeast Brazil Adventist Education and Social Assistance Institute), West Central Brazil Union Mission, Instituto Adventista de Educação e Assistência Social Norte Brasileiro (North Brazil Adventist Education and Social Assistance Institute), Associação Adventista Norte Brasileira de Prevenção e Assistência à Saúde (North Brazil Adventist Prevention and Health Care Association), Instituto Adventista Sul Riograndense de Educação e Assistência Social (Rio Grande do Sul Adventist Education and Social Assistance Institute), Instituto Adventista de Educação e Assistência Social Este Brasileiro [East Brazil Adventist Education and Social Assistance Institute], Instituto Adventista Este Brasileiro de Prevenção e Assistência à Saúde (East Brazil Adventist Prevention and Health Care Institute), Instituto Adventista Sul Brasileiro de Educação e Assistência Social (South Brazil Adventist Education ans Social Assistance Institution), Fundação Roberto Rabello de Comunicação Social (Roberto Rabello Social Communication Foundation) and União Nordeste Brasileira (Northeast Brazil Union Mission).23

Even with the important intake of all mentioned institutions, the Brazilian Adventist Retirement and Assistance Institute’s main challenge was “keeping resource equalization for confronting a long-term liability and ensuring service to all its clients.” Looking to the future, the Brazilian Adventist Retirement and Assistance Institute intends to accompany the organization’s constant changes, especially in respect to the retirees longevity. In addition, considering the economic oscillations in Brazil, the Brazilian Adventist Retirement and Assistance Institute intends to keep a balanced system of fund’s management in order to keep corresponding to the longings of its contributors.24

Official Names

Seventh-day Adventist Church Brazilian Adventist Retirement and Assistance to the Workers Institute (1916-1977); Brazilian Adventist Retirement and Assistance Institute (1977-present).

Leaders

Directors: Laércio Miotto Mazzo (1998-2007); Paulo Roberto Gonçalves Coelho (2008-2015); Elias Teixeira da Silva (2016-present).

Managers: Jurandir de Oliveira (1978-1984); Kemuel Ebinger (1985-1997); Nelson Dill (2016-present).

Sources

Estatuto do Instituto Adventista de Jubilação e Assistência [Brazilian Adventist Retirement and Assistance Institute Bylaw], 1979.

Estatuto do Instituto Adventista de Jubilação e Assistência [Brazilian Adventist Retirement and Assistance Institute Bylaw]. https://iaja.adventistas.org/.

South American Division Minutes. South American Division Archives, Brasilia, DF, Brazil.

Schwarz, Richard W., and Floyd Greenleaf. Portadores de Luz: história da Igreja Adventista do Sétimo Dia [Light Bearers: A History of the Seventh‑Day Adventist Church]. Engenheiro Coelho, SP: Unaspress, 2016.

Notes

  1. “Artigo 1°” [Article I], Brazilian Adventist Retirement and Assistance Institute Bylaw, 1979, 1.

  2. Richard W. Schwarz and Floyd Greenleaf, Portadores de Luz: história da Igreja Adventista do Sétimo Dia [Light Bearers: A History of the Seventh‑Day Adventist Church] (Engenheiro Coelho, SP: Unaspress, 2016), 116.

  3. Ibid.

  4. Ibid.

  5. South American Division Minute, 1916.

  6. “Artigo 1°, parágrafo 1” [Article I, paragraph I], Estatuto do Instituto Adventista de Jubilação e Assistência [Brazilian Adventist Retirement and Assistance Institute Bylaw], 1979, 1.

  7. “Artigo 1 °” [Article I], Estatuto do Instituto Adventista de Jubilação e Assistência [Brazilian Adventist Retirement and Assistance Institute Bylaw], 1979, 1.

  8. Estatuto do Instituto Adventista de Jubilação e Assistência [Brazilian Adventist Retirement and Assistance Institute Bylaw], 1979, 8.

  9. Ibid.

  10. Brazilian Adventist Retirement and Assistance Institute, “Mission e visão” [Mission and Vision], accessed on June 25, 2019, https://bit.ly/2J65hTo.

  11. Brazilian Adventist Retirement and Assistance Institute, “Instituições patrocinadoras” [Sponsored Institutions], accessed on June 25, 2019, https://bit.ly/2LjVXOj.

  12. Seventh-day Adventist Church Website, “Instituições” [Institutions], accessed on June 26, 2019, https://bit.ly/2KbnAIN.

  13. “Artigo 4º” [Article IV], Estatuto do Instituto Adventista de Jubilação e Assistência [Brazilian Adventist Retirement and Assistance Institute Bylaw], 1979, 2.

  14. Brazilian Adventist Retirement and Assistance Institute, “Plano Alpha” [Alpha Plan], accessed on June 25, 2019, https://bit.ly/31EOvUe.

  15. Brazilian Adventist Retirement and Assistance Institute, “Plano Beta” [Beta Plan], accessed on June 25, 2019, https://bit.ly/2UFy9t2.

  16. Brazilian Adventist Retirement and Assistance Institute, “Plano Gama” [Gama Plan], accessed on June 25, 2019, https://bit.ly/2UGo2Eo.

  17. Nelson Dill, interview by the author, October 7, 2019.

  18. Brazilian Adventist Retirement and Assistance Institute, “Instituições patrocinadoras” [Sponsored Institutions], accessed on June 25, 2019, https://bit.ly/2LjVXOj.

  19. Nelson Dill, interview by the author, October 7, 2019.

  20. Ibid.

  21. Ibid.

  22. Brazilian Adventist Retirement and Assistance Institute, “Instituições patrocinadoras” [Sponsored Institutions], accessed on June 25, 2019, https://bit.ly/2LjVXOj.

  23. Ibid.

  24. Nelson Dill, interview by the author, October 7, 2019.

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Ferri, Carlos Alberto. "Brazilian Adventist Retirement and Assistance Institute." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. April 28, 2021. Accessed September 23, 2021. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=EI9M.

Ferri, Carlos Alberto. "Brazilian Adventist Retirement and Assistance Institute." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. April 28, 2021. Date of access September 23, 2021, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=EI9M.

Ferri, Carlos Alberto (2021, April 28). Brazilian Adventist Retirement and Assistance Institute. Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved September 23, 2021, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=EI9M.