Italian roundup: Cassa Ragionieri, Cassa Forense, Covip figures

first_imgPaolo Saltarelli, whose tenure as chairman of the first-pillar fund ended in May this year, was pre-emptively jailed this week after Guardia di Finanza, the Italian financial crime police, were told by another suspect that he had received a €1m kickback.Andrea Toschi, former chief executive at Adenium Sgr, Sopaf’s asset management arm, told investigators Saltarelli had been “rewarded” for persuading the fund’s board to appoint Adenium as manager of a portion of the assets.CNPR’s current chairman, Luigi Pagliuca, said in a statement: “I feel humanly close to my colleague Paolo Saltarelli, and I hope he will be able to show he is completely unrelated to this matter.”He added that CNPR’s new governance structure immediately put “enhanced transparency towards trustees and members” as its primary objective.The investigation will establish whether Adenium subtracted CNPR the €52m by shifting the funds to tax havens and then back to the suspects’ bank accounts.Earlier this year, CNPR had said that, in 2012, its board tried to block part of Sopaf’s activities, after it had emerged the company was in distress.  Prosecutors also identified journalists’ scheme INPGI and doctors’ scheme Enpam as potential victims of Sopaf’s fraudulent activities.Enpam said yesterday that it never appointed Adenium or Sopaf to manage any of the fund’s assets.However, in 2009, Enpam bought from Sopaf a €100m stake in Fondo Immobili Pubblici (FIP), a real estate fund backed by the Italian government, in an investment the fund says has returned 9% annually so far.Prosecutors are also investigating this transaction, saying Sopaf made an illicit profit from the sale of the stakes in FIP to Enpam and INPGI.In other news, a number of institutional investors including the first-pillar pension fund for Italian lawyers acquired a 6%, €313.5m stake in a vehicle controlling Italian gas transmission group Snam and power grid company Terna.State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) was also among those acquiring a minority stake in the vehicle.The lawyers’ fund, Cassa Forense, invested €140m to own just under half of the 6% stake.Elsewhere, Italian pension regulator Covip released figures showing that, during the first nine months of 2014, the returns of Italian second and third-pillar funds beat the revaluation of the TFR (trattamento di fine rapporto), or employee severance pay.Due to low consumer price inflation, the TFR was uprated by 1% over the period.In comparison, second-pillar industry funds returned 5.8%, while open pension funds returned 5.9% and third-pillar plans returned 5.1%.However, the data does not take into account the higher tax rate on returns introduced from 1 July this year, when the rate was raised from 11% to 11.5%.The 2015 Budget law currently under parliamentary discussion foresees a further spike in taxation to 20%.By the same proposed measure, the tax rate on TFR, which is revalued annually by a fixed 1.5% plus 75% of inflation, will be raised from the current 11% to 17%. The former chairman of the Italian first-pillar pension fund for accountants, Casa di Previdenza e Assistenza dei Ragionieri (CNPR), has been arrested by Italian authorities and is under investigation for bribery.The arrest is part of a wider probe by Italian prosecutors involving Sopaf, an investment company with a track record in the Italian institutional investment sector.Prosecutors are trying to determine whether Sopaf embezzled €52m of CNPR’s assets.Sopaf’s owners, high-profile financiers Magnoni brothers, along with other external partners of the company, were arrested earlier this year as part of the investigation.last_img read more

Czech second-pillar pension closure moves ahead

first_imgAssets grew over the period by 19.1% to CZK2.1bn (€74m).The faster asset growth is the most likely explanation for the continued interest, with new members viewing the system as an attractive investment opportunity for their contributions, reportedly as high as 150% in the case of some of the 20 available funds, according to Czech press reports.Because joining the second pillar is irreversible, members will continue paying their contributions (3% of the social security tax diverted from the PAYG system matched by a further 2% of an individual’s wages) until the end of the year.The second part of the system’s closure, covering the reimbursement of invested funds, has yet to be approved by Parliament.Next year, members of the second-pillar system will have the choice of either receiving all the funds – in cash, into a bank account or a third-pillar fund if they have one – or returning the 3% back to the first pillar.The second option guarantees them a higher state pension.The monies will be reimbursed towards the end of the year, to take account of the later tax filings by the self-employed, and the time required for the fund managers to liquidate the assets.Separately, the Finance Ministry has been working on proposals to boost membership and savings in the third pillar.Participation in the long-established one-cap-fits-all “transformed funds,” which offer a minimum guaranteed return but were closed to new members in November 2012, continues to shrink, with membership as of the end of March 2015 down by 312,450 year on year to 4.5m.Membership of the replacement, non-guaranteed “participation funds,” with their range of funds suiting different risk profiles, grew by a smaller 146,767 to 266,780.The ministry’s proposals for the participation funds, earlier lobbied for by the APS ČR, include wider investment limits; higher asset management and performance fees for all participation funds except the conservative, government bond structures; the possibility of members saving for their children; and more generous tax-deduction limits for employees and employers.However, the ministry appears to have shelved an earlier proposal to double the commission fees.Pension companies had argued this would have made the product more attractive for agents to sell. The closure of the Czech Republic’s voluntary second-pillar pension system, in place only since 2013, is finally set to start entering the statute books.This follows approval by the Chamber of Deputies (lower house of Parliament) in May, and the Senate (upper house) the following month to close the entry of new members into the second pillar, and becomes law once signed off by president Miloš Zeman.Despite the factthe government announced in November 2014 that its predecessor’s system would shut in January 2016, workers continued to join.According to the Association of Pension Funds of the Czech Republic (APS ČR), by the end of March 2014, second-pillar membership had grown by 1.4% (1,170) year to date to 84,383.last_img read more

Friday people roundup [updated]

first_imgUK National Employment Savings Trust, ABP, Kempen Capital Management, PGGM Investments, KAS Bank, Allianz Global Investors, National Association of Pension Funds, Cronje & Yiannas Actuaries and Consultants, ICAP, Standard Bank GroupUK National Employment Savings Trust (NEST) – NEST will appoint its head of product and marketing as chief executive after Tim Jones steps down later this year. Helen Dean will take on her new responsibilities in the autumn. Dean, currently an executive director, becomes NEST’s second chief executive. She was initially seconded from central government to the provider while it was still called the Personal Accounts Delivery Authority, before the official rollout of auto-enrolment.ABP – The €373bn Dutch civil service pension fund has appointed Michael Damm as a trustee, nominated by the pensioners on its accountability body. Damm is professor of risk management at South Africa’s North West University. He has been an independent adviser for risk and asset management since 2012. Between 2002 and 2012, Damm was CIO at VermogensGroep. ABP’s board will now comprise chair Corien Wortmann-Kool and the employers’ representatives Cees de Veer, Mariette Doornekamp, Carel van Eykelenburg, Erik van Houwelingen and Joop van Lunteren. José Meijer and Willem Jelle Berg are on the board on behalf the workers, while Michael Damm, Conchita Mulder-Volkers and Xander den Uyl represent ABP’s pensioners.Kempen Capital Management – Roul Haerden has been appointed to the multi management team, responsible for external manager selection and monitoring activities within fixed income. He joins from PGGM Investments, where he has held a similar position in the external manager selection team of PGGM External Segregated Mandates since April 2013. Before then, he was responsible for external manager selection at Doctors Pension Fund Services. He started his career in 2000 at APG Investments, where he was a research analyst. KAS Bank – The custodian bank has appointed Joost Melis as programme director for the further development of a central platform for assets and fund administration for institutional investors in the Netherlands. Joost’s responsibility is to increase the number of participants on this platform to reduce administration and operating costs through economies of scale. Before joining KAS, Joost worked at Delta Lloyd Bank Group for seven years. He has also worked at AEGON, ASR and SNS Reaal.Allianz Global Investors – Iain Cowell has been appointed head of Solutions for UK and Ireland. He joins from the UK National Association of Pension Funds, where he was head of investment affairs. Before then, he was managing director at BNY Mellon and a director at Hermes Investment Management.Cronje & Yiannas Actuaries and Consultants – The Cyprus-based actuarial consulting firm, set up by Stephan Cronje and Marios Yiannas in 2011, has expanded its consulting team by adding Stephanos Hadjistyllis. Hadjistyllis is a Fellow of the UK Institute of Actuaries and previously worked for P-Solve and Punter Southall in London, where he trained as a consulting actuary, advising pension funds on actuarial valuations and investment matters.ICAP – The markets operator and provider of post-trade risk mitigation and information services has appointed Jenny Knott as chief executive of Post Trade Risk and Information Services. She joins from African financial services group Standard Bank Group, where she was chief executive of Standard Bank and CIB International.last_img read more

Denmark to draft scheme inspired by UK’s Stewardship Code

first_img“It will be both to the advantage of investors and businesses, if, for example, pension funds show a more visible engagement with those businesses they invest in,” he noted.At the same time, the ministry said it had decided to boost the number of people on the committee by up to two new members who had relevant investment experience, so that the panel had a sufficient level of investment skills to carry out the new work. At the moment, the committee has seven members including Dorrit Vanglo, the chief executive of pension fund LD.It had not yet been decided who would fill these new posts, the ministry said.It praised the UK’s Stewardship Code, which was launched in 2010, saying it had contributed to raising the level of engagement among institutional investors in connection with their investments in British companies.Last December, the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) said it would soon begin assessing and rating pension funds and asset managers on their level of engagement with the Stewardship Code.The International Corporate Governance Network (ICGN) said late last year that it was drafting a global stewardship code building on similar initiatives in Japan and the UK. The Danish government is set to draft a code, based on the UK Stewardship Code, to steer the country’s pension providers towards more proactive engagement with company management.Troels Lund Poulsen, minister for business and growth, said the proposed code would ensure a focus on healthy, long-term corporate activity.“It benefits Danish competitiveness if institutional investors use their influence and skills to help Danish companies operate in the best possible way,” he said.Lund Poulsen said he had asked the Committee on Corporate Governance (Komitéen for god Selskabsledelse) to draft a set of recommendations that could strengthen active ownership.last_img read more

Property writedowns wipe tenth off Varma’s 2016 returns

first_imgIlkka Tomperi, Varma’s investment director responsible for real estate, told IPE: “Our portfolio includes very few assets in Helsinki’s [central business district]. That has been the main beneficiary from the rental growth and yield compression, while the demand for secondary locations has been limited. We saw values declining in many of our commercial properties, while the residential portfolio performed well.”In its report on 2016 results, Varma said its real estate investments ended the year at €3.6bn on the balance sheet, down from €3.9bn. Direct real estate investments made a loss of 2.6% in 2016, down from a 2.3% profit the year before, but real estate investment funds returned 6.8%, down from 9.9% in 2015.Varma continued with its strategy of increasing international diversification in its property investments during 2016, the report said.The company said its weighting of domestic, directly-owned real estate investments was reduced last year, with the company raising €301m through sales of direct real estate investments in 2016.Commenting on overall results for the year, Varma’s president and chief executive Risto Murto said: “A challenging year turned out to be a good one.”“Solvency, which is strategically important, strengthened and investment assets increased,” he said, adding that the company was in strong shape. Varma, the largest of Finland’s pensions insurance companies, reported an investment return of 4.7% in 2016 after taking a hit from its property portfolio.Writedowns in the values of some of its real estate assets knocked more than 10% off its annual investment profit, the insurer said.Varma reported its property asets made a 0.9% loss in 2016 as a result of €218m fall in value. Indirect real estate investments generated a positive 6.8% return, however.Despite this, total assets under management rose to a record high of €42.9bn last year, from €41.3bn in 2015. In absolute terms, Varma’s overall investment return for 2016 was €2bn.last_img read more

PLSA chief executive Segars to leave in June [updated]

first_imgSegars said: “I have enjoyed my time at the PLSA enormously, but after 12 years it is time to move on. I’ve been privileged to lead fantastic colleagues and members who work tirelessly to provide millions of people with better retirement incomes.“My proudest achievements have included creating the Pension Quality Mark, establishing the Pensions Infrastructure Platform, increasing the association’s income by 40% and making our conferences and events the best in the industry.“Working with the PLSA’s members I have given the association a new and wider focus, reflecting the realities of retirement saving today, culminating in the rebranding of the NAPF as the PLSA in 2015.”Lesley Williams, chair of the PLSA, praised Segars for the impact she has had: “Joanne has been an outstanding chief executive of the PLSA and has made a huge difference, as she campaigned for a secure future for pensions and pensioners in the UK and the EU.”[Updated] Segars will also be stepping down from the board of PensionsEurope, the European occupational pensions trade body. She was its chair from 2012-2015, and remained on the board thereafter in her capacity as chief executive of the PLSA. PensionsEurope chair Janwillem Bouma and CEO Matti Leppälä said: “We wish to warmly thank Joanne Segars on behalf of PensionsEurope and all of its members. Joanne has been a firm supporter of PensionsEurope and has made an exceptional contribution to our work as a long time board member and as the chair.  “During this period we successfully defended European pension funds from unduly solvency requirements and secured an outcome in IORP II directive that respects the diversity of pensions systems across Europe. We have valued Joanne’s active and constructive participation in all of our work. We will miss Joanne and wish her the best of luck for the future.” In a statement, the association said: ”Over the course of her tenure Joanne has transformed the association, building its reputation as an organisation with credible and persuasive policy proposals, representing the interests of members with vigour, determination, and imagination. She has ensured that the association is a strong and trusted voice in the public conversation.” Joanne Segars, the chief executive of the UK’s pensions trade body, is leaving the association to pursue a “portfolio career”.Julian Mund will assume executive duties until the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) appoints a permanent successor to Segars.She will remain in her post until the end of June, completing some projects currently in progress and continuing to act as the association’s ambassador, the PLSA said.She has been at the PLSA – previously called the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) – for 12 years, having joined as director of policy in 2005 before becoming its chief executive in October 2006.   last_img read more

Finnish roundup: High demand for new partial pension

first_imgFinland’s two biggest pension insurance companies, Varma and Ilmarinen, have reported strong demand at the beginning of this year for the new partial old-age pension.Releasing financial results for the first quarter of the year, Ilmarinen said the new option “raised much interest among Ilmarinen’s customers”.During the first quarter, the company said it received 1,300 applications and made 1,140 decisions about the new type of pension.Meanwhile, Varma said it had granted the partial early old-age pension to 870 people in the three-month period, having received 1,023 applications. Of the applicants, 79% were wage-earners and 21% were entrepreneurs. A fifth of the applicants were unemployed, it reported.Risto Murto, Varma’s president and chief executive, said the new type of pension brought greater flexibility to retirement, but at the same time underscored the individual’s responsibility for their pension cover.Ilmarinen posted a 2.2% investment return for the first quarter, compared to the 1.4% loss it made in same period last year. Timo Ritakallio, the firm’s president and chief executive, said: “The good investment result was attributed especially to the rise in share prices.”But the company warned that returns in near future were likely to be lower than actual long-term returns, because of a combination of low interest rates and high equity valuations.At the end of March, the market value of Ilmarinen’s portfolio stood at €38.3bn, up from €35.8bn at the same point last year.Varma’s portfolio gained 2.7% in the first quarter, compared to a loss of 1.4% in the same period in 2016. The portfolio was worth €44.4bn at the end of the period, up from €41.1bn 12 months earlier. Solvency capital grew to €10.8bn from €10.2bn at the very start of the year.Equities generated the strongest return, but all asset classes yielded positive returns, the insurer said.Separately, Etera Mutual Pension Insurance Company made a 2.2% return in the first quarter on its investments, compared to the slim 0.1% return it generated in the same period last year.Stefan Björkman, chief executive of the company, said: “In spite of political uncertainties, the year got off to a good start in terms of investments both globally and in Finland.”Equity investments generated a 4.5% return, and within this category, listed equities returned 5.8%. Fixed-income investments produced 1.3% in returns and real estate investments made 1.6%, Etera reported.Its investment portfolio was worth €6.27bn at the end of March, up from €5.76bn ayear earlier. Etera said its solvency capital rose to €901m from €846m at the end of December.last_img read more

Netherlands roundup: Company pension funds announce indexation

first_imgThe pension fund for the sheet glass industry wants to merge with a larger industry fundMartin Meijer, independent chairman of the sheet glass industry fund since September last year, explained the plans in the fund’s newsletter. At the end of 2017 the €770m sector scheme had an average ‘policy coverage’ of 96.7%. The policy coverage is the average funding level over the previous 12 months, and the main criterion for rights cuts or indexation.In the newsletter, Meijer stated that merging is the pension fund’s preferred option. Remaining independent was the second option.Vlakgas’ plans to merge with Pensioenfonds Nederlandse Groothandel, the Dutch scheme for employees in the wholesale industry, ended in 2016 in disagreement over the demarcation between BPF Schilders, the sector scheme for painters and decorators. In the event of a merger, the compulsory scheme membership in the window industry needs to be amended, to which the painters’ scheme objected.The social partners from both sectors have been in talks with each other for years to find a solution to this dispute, but still haven’t reached an accord.“This creates an obstacle to a possible merger with another fund,” Meijer said. “We as a pension scheme cannot do anything about this – it’s up to the social partners. I assume a solution will be found within the foreseeable future. This situation is not desirable for either of the two sectors.”The Vlakglas scheme, which has 25,000 members including close to 9,000 active members and pensioners, struggles with a low funding ratio and relatively high administration costs. If the policy coverage does not exceed 104.4% by the end of 2019, the scheme will have to cut its pensions in 2020. The fund spent €337 in administration costs per scheme member in 2016 (this includes active members and pensioners).“These costs fell sharply in 2017 and are expected to decline further in the coming years”, Meijer said. AZL is the pension fund administrator.Multi-company fund Transavia splits The multi-company pension fund for Dutch airline Transavia’s ground and cabin crew has split. Ground personnel will accrue their pensions in the general pension fund (APF) Stap from the start of this year. Cabin crew will transfer to BeFrank, the Premium Pension Institution (PPI) that has been managing the Transavia pilots scheme since 2016. A PPI is a vehicle offering a defined contribution (DC) plan for the accrual of additional pensions. Pension fund Transavia has been one of the few multi-company schemes (multi-OPF) in existence in the Netherlands. The split was already in the air because the employer planned to close one of the two compartments. At the same time the reinsurance contract for both compartments expired at the beginning of this year. A multi-OPF manages separate pension asset pools, cordoned off from each other along the lines of the original pension funds that have coalesced in the multi-OPF.The collective bargaining partners opted for a transfer of the ground crew to Stap, the APF that is a joint effort between Aegon and pension fund administrator TKP. Cabin personnel have started to accrue their pensions in an individual DC scheme with BeFrank. Transavia’s pilots have been connected to this PPI since 2016.The ground and cabin crews’ accrued pension benefits remain with the Transavia multi-OPF. These entitlements have been reinsured with Nationale Nederlanden and Aegon. In October last year their pension rights increased by 1.57%. Equities contributed the most to PostNL’s 2017 gains (4.5%). The fund suffered losses on its interest rate derivatives (-0.7%). The interest rate rise resulted in a 2.2 percentage point increase in liabilities. For that reason, the current coverage ratio only rose to a limited extent, from 115.4% to 115.8%.The policy coverage increased from 111.2% to 113.4%.The company pension scheme for KLM pilots has granted its members full indexation of 1.4%. The increase was derived from the index of collective wages in the private sector.Equities produced the highest return in 2017 also for KLM fund, whose liabilities increased in the last quarter. This led to a slight decrease in its current coverage ratio, from 129.8% at the end of the third quarter to 129.5% at the end of the fourth.Like a number of other company funds, Dutch telecoms scheme KPN distinguishes between active members on the one hand and deferred members and pensioners on the other. Active members will be receiving a pension increase of 0.74% this year. Deferred members and pensioners have been granted indexation of 0.84%.Unlike sector schemes, which grant all participants and pensioners the same rights increase, many company pension funds apply the salary index for workers and the consumer index for deferred participants and pensioners.Unlike PostNL and the KLM pilots fund, KPN doesn’t publish quarterly figures. The policy coverage is known, however, and stood at 118.1%. The actual coverage ratio in the fourth quarter was 120.2%, which is 0.1 percentage point higher than the end of the third quarter.Vlakgas fund hopes for merger breakthroughBPF Vlakgas, the pension fund for the Dutch sheet glass industry, is looking to merge with a larger pension fund despite difficulties with another sector fund that could stymie its plans.  Several Dutch company pension funds have announced they will be granting inflation-linked benefit increases this year.Members in the pension fund for postal workers, PostNL, the KLM pilots’ scheme, and the company fund of Dutch telecoms giant KPN will receive increases. The company pension funds’ announcements come as some Dutch sector schemes have returned to indexation given improved funding.  The PostNL scheme’s policy coverage in 2017 exceeded the required threshold, and members will be receiving a pensions increase of 0.32% this year. According to its quarterly report, the PostNL scheme achieved a return of 5.5% in 2017. The fund closed 2017 with a policy coverage of 113.4%. This includes the 0.32% pensions increase. last_img read more

Accounting roundup: FRC wrongly told companies to pay voluntary levy

first_imgThe issue emerged in documents released to IPE by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in connection with the FRC’s status as a public body.ONS staff noted that it was possible that companies had mistakenly paid the levy in the belief that it was compulsory.The FRC’s current levy fact sheet explains that the levy is voluntary.IASB seeks fix for IAS 19 discount rate anomalyThe International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) is seeking to address problems with accounting for pension plans that are linked to an asset return, such as defined contribution (DC) or collective DC (CDC) schemes.The IASB agreed to conduct outreach on a narrow-scope fix to its pensions accounting rules International Accounting Standard 19 (IAS 19).Staff explained during the board’s February meeting that the work would focus on accounting for pension benefits under IAS 19 where there is a discrepancy between the cashflows and the discount rate, where the payouts depend on asset returns.The issue is that discounting back at a double-AA corporate bond rate creates an anomaly because it doesn’t match projected cashflows.The board said it would look at intorducing a cap on the rate at which cashflows are projected forward so that they do not exceed the discount rate.Eleven of the board’s 14 members supported the decision.Staff said they had ruled out looking at higher-of benefits, which also depend on an asset return.They added that: “If the research establishes that this approach would not be feasible, the staff expects to recommend no work on pensions.”The IASB opted to allocate pensions to its new research pipeline following its 2015 agenda consultation. The board is currently a year and a quarter into its agenda-setting cycle.IAS 19 changes could prove problematic for GermanyRecent IAS 19 amendments will be challenging to apply in Germany, according to Thomas Hagemann, the chief actuary for Mercer’s German practice.The changes deal with the accounting for plan amendments, curtailments and settlements under the standard.In a briefing note to clients, Hageman warned in particular that the amendments could produce anomalies and a lack of comparability across companies.He wrote: “[A] very minor settlement can lead to a situation where the obligation must be recalculated for the remainder of the reporting period because the changes to the assumptions have changed the liability to an extent that is no longer insignificant.”He added: “A small special event could force a recalculation of the expense component for the rest of the accounting period that would otherwise not be permitted.”His comments follow a similar warning from UK advisers Lane Clark & Peacock.The IAS 19 amendments take effect from 1 January 2019 with earlier adoption permitted, although the EU has yet to endorse them.The changes require companies that amend their scheme benefits to recalculate current service cost from the point of change using updated assumptions.Critics of the change argue that it can produce a higher defined benefit obligation, even though the scheme has cut benefits as a result of using what could be a lower discount rate. The UK accounting watchdog has admitted wrongly telling companies to pay a voluntary levy.The admission from the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) came in a ministerial response to a question posed by Baroness Sharon Bowles, a member of the UK’s House of Lords.In its 2016/17 levy fact sheet for preparers, the FRC stated that “Companies with a Premium listing on the London Stock Exchange Main Market are required to pay the full levy”.In response to Baroness Bowles’ question, Lord Henley, parliamentary under-secretary for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said the word ‘required’ was replaced with ‘requested’ for the 2018-19 fact sheets “to improve clarity”.last_img read more

​Governments must act to restore trust in pensions, says OECD

first_imgGovernments have work to do to shore up regulatory frameworks and make pension systems more understandable, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).In its Pensions Outlook 2018 report, the economic body made a number of suggestions for improving pension systems, including looking at how large investment institutions were governed for ideas on how to bolster rules, and using mechanisms such as automatic enrolment to make systems more inclusive.Pablo Antolin, principal economist and head of the organisation’s private pension unit, said: “People’s trust in pensions systems is undoubtedly low. There remains significant concern about whether institutions managing their retirement savings actually have their best interests at heart and will deliver on their promises once they reach retirement age.”Even though policymakers had made improvements to the design of funded pensions in recent years to tackle some of the problems related to low levels of financial knowledge and behavioural biases, he said there was more to do. “Essentially, pension reforms need to be better communicated so that the rationale and effects of pension reforms become clearer,” Antolin said. “People need a better understanding of what they themselves can do to secure their retirement incomes, why contributions to all types of pension arrangements are important, which vehicles are available for retirement saving, and how they are protected.” The OECD’s headquarters in ParisMechanisms such as automatic enrolment and escalation of contributions could take advantage of inertia to make pension systems more inclusive and help increase contribution levels, the OECD’s report said.The report also said the governance and investment approaches of “nationally significant investment institutions” provided useful guidelines to strengthen regulatory frameworks.“They have regulatory and legal frameworks at arm’s length from government; clearly stated missions to guide investment policy; an oversight board that is accountable to the competent authorities and to members; and transparency about their governance arrangements and their investment and risk management to keep them accountable to different stakeholders,” the OECD said.These institutions expressed performance aims in terms of their mission, it said, with performance monitoring conducted against this long-term goal, rather than against a market-based benchmark.The OECD also called for more flexibility on default retirement ages and progressive public pensions and tax rules to take account of financial disadvantages for people with expected shorter lives.“Individuals in low socio-economic groups have a lower life expectancy than high socio-economic groups,” it said. “They may be financially disadvantaged if they spend a shorter time in retirement relative to their working life, receiving a lower “return” on contributions made towards their funded pension source.”last_img read more