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Pension Issues around the World


- Archives 2008 -


Also see our sections on Social Pensions, Trade Unions and Pensions
and US Pension Issues

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Nigeria: Workers Are Encouraged To Join New Pension Scheme (December 10, 2008)
In order to encourage workers to join the national pension scheme in Nigeria, the Pension Reform Act of 2004 contains a number of stringent provisions that have the singular objective of protecting pension fund assets. These include separation of the fund’s custodian and administration functions, strict reporting requirements, public disclosure of information and legal sanctions for non-compliance with rules and regulations. It is hoped that these provisions will reduce employee reluctance to join the contributory pension plan.


South Africa: No to 'Big-Bang Approach' To Pensions (December 4, 2008) 
Policy makers in South Africa are currently investigating the introduction of mandatory social security contributions for everyone from a certain earnings level, backed by a tier of supplementary retirement savings for those in higher pay grades. According to Baron Furstenburg, head of pension reform strategy at Liberty Corporate, South Africa is missing a mandatory contributory pillar of pension provision and a structural gap exists between the social old age grant of R930 ($95) a month and tax-incentive savings. 


Tanzania: Pensions Fund Donates To Orphanage (November 24, 2008)
The Parastatal Pensions Fund (PPF) has donated foodstuffs and cash to the Kibowa orphan centre at Lemara village in Arusha. Eighty-nine participants raised the money as part of a recent seminar sponsored by PPF. The seminar attendees raised Sh1.2 million after visiting the orphanage and realizing what the needs were. The donations included kerosene and toiletries such as toothpaste for the 42 children at the orphanage. 


Kenya: Ringera Exposes Rot at the Pensions Department (November 14, 2008) 
The Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (Kacc) has issued an extremely critical report on the Pensions Department of the Ministry of Finance, and called for an overhaul in its operation. Kacc Director, Justice Aaron Ringera, said corruption is rife in the department and called for transparency and accountability. In addition, the Pensions Department was found to have operational weaknesses, especially poor customer care, lack of proper channels for complaints and delays in processing of pensions.


Nigeria: Global Financial Crisis: Pencom Moves to Safeguard Pension Assets (November 7, 2008) 
The Director-General of the National Pension Commission, Muhammad K. Ahmad, has initiated moves to protect pension assets. At a meeting in Abuja, Ahmad emphasized to Compliance Officers of Pension Fund Administrators that all measures should be taken to safeguard pension assets in their custody. He went on to tell the officers that they had critical roles to play in ensuring an efficient pension industry capable of achieving the goal of providing a sustainable cushion for retirees

Tanzania: Retirees: Pay Us Now Or Else (October 27, 2008) 
According to Mr. Assed Mayugi, chairman of the Tanzanian civil servants retirees committee, retirees have not been paid their pensions from July to December 2007 and from January to June 2008, totaling about Sh30 million (about $2.5 million). The retirees also want the minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Mr. Mustafa Mkulo, and his team to apologize for allegedly dodging them and calling the police to disperse them when they met last week to demand payment.


Zambia: HH Pledges Improved Pension System (October 14, 2008)
Hakainde Hichilema, president of the United Party for National Development (UPND) has promised to improve the pension administration system for public service employees if elected Republican president on October 30. This is part of a package to attract competent and motivated individuals into the civil service of Zambia. Other parts of the compensation package for civil service employees include one third of their salary tax-free and access to loans for the acquisition of housing and motor vehicles.


Nigeria: Financial Turmoil: Pensioners Alarmed Over Insecurity of Fund (October 10, 2008) 
Concern about the effect of the global financial crisis on pension funds has spread to all parts of the world. In Nigeria, pensioners and members of the Certified Pension Institute of Nigeria (CPIN) have expressed concern about the security of their pension funds and want to know how much has been invested in equities outside Nigeria. Many pensioners are concerned that market losses will undermine the pension funds and result in a return to the days when pensions were not paid in Nigeria.


Uganda: Uganda Asked To Liberalize Pension Sector (October 9, 2008)
Concerns about a possible land scandal involving the Ugandan National Social Security Fund (NSSF) have strengthened calls for a regulator for the pension sector to be appointed by the Ugandan government. At the same time, the government is being asked to liberalize the pension sector so that employers and workers can choose where to save their pension, depending on the interest, transparency and accountability of a particular operator. 


Uganda: Elderly to Get Five Seats in Parliament (October 2, 2008)
Following last week’s article, the Ugandan parliament has adopted the report of the committee on Equal Opportunities following a May 2007 petition by the Aged Family Uganda, a local NGO advocate for older persons and their dependents. In that petition, the elderly begged Parliament to provide room for the election of representatives "where at least five members of Parliament should represent the older persons." Currently, only 5% of the country's elderly are getting pensions, leaving 95% to survive on their own or on the good will of the community.


Ghana: Informal Sector Employees to Enjoy Pensions until Death (September 26, 2008)
In Ghana, members in the informal sector (or self-employed) form 80% of the working population. To ensure that old age does not become a burden for any Ghanaian, it is important that current pension reforms include the workers in this sector. The Informal Sector scheme, which is the third tier of the National Pensions Reforms, involves a monthly contribution from beneficiaries, loan facilities and all other benefits that those in the formal sector enjoy.


Kenya: New Pension Plan for Civil Servants (September 18, 2008)
East African finance ministers have committed to scrapping public service pensions across the region, and replacing them with new schemes that will require civil servants to contribute towards securing their retirement. The scheme is intended to free up taxpayer money to support investment and growth in the region, but at considerable cost to public service employees, who now must contribute to pension plans that were previously non-contributory. Kenya has tried to implement a similar scheme, but so far without success. 


Uganda: Pension Sector to Be Liberalized Next Year (September 18, 2008)
A prerequisite to liberalizing the pension sector in Uganda is the appointment of a pension regulator. Private sector analysts argue that opening the pension sector to private pension funds will encourage domestic savings and encourage local investment, but investors will need reassurance that their savings are being well managed. Simon Rutega, the CEO of the Uganda Securities Exchange, said that it would be critical for the pension regulator to ensure that there are good regulatory conditions for pension funds in the hands of fund managers, something that is still lacking in Uganda.


Ghana: Nana Akufo-Addo to Set Up Pension Scheme for Farmers (September 4, 2008)
The leader of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, has promised to set up a credible pension scheme for farmers when voted into power. He said this would encourage the youth of the country to become farmers and help to increase food production. The NPP presidential hopeful was campaigning before the December election and said the fortunes of the NPP in December depended much on canvassing for more votes at the grassroots.


South Africa: Retirement Funding Shifts to the Unit Trust Industry (September 1, 2008)
According to Maitland, a fund services provider with operations in South Africa, the unit trust industry has overtaken the life assurance sector as the leading provider of long-term savings plans in South Africa. Market-linked retirement fund products such as retirement annuities were previously the almost exclusive domain of life assurance products, but are being replaced by unit trusts. Maitland claims that this is primarily due to the transparency and lower cost of unit trusts.


South Africa: Is Your Pension Under Threat? (August 17, 2008)
The government of South Africa and various trade union groups have moved to quell fears about the proposed “national contributory savings fund.” The national contributory savings fund would be a government controlled and administered pension fund. It would be virtually untouchable until retirement. The main fear is that the fund could be “mismanaged,” resulting in people losing their savings.

Uganda: Civil Servants to Pay Six Percent Towards Pension Fund (August 19, 2008)

The Uganda government is proposing to change the structure of its civil servant pension scheme. The new proposals will see contributions from both active civil servants and the government rise. The increase in contributions by active civil servants will be in line with contributions by private sector workers. In addition, current civil servant pensions are to be indexed to negate the effects of inflation..


Namibia: Free Health Care for Elderly (June 10, 2008)
Life is not easy for senior citizens in Namibia. The social pension is inadequate, even after a recent increase. Older and disabled people need health care more often, but hospitals and medicine are prohibitively expensive. The “elderly” by definition are those over 60 years of age and on government grants; “disabled” are those medically proven unable to work. The government has set no date to begin to provide health care for the elderly and disabled.

South Africa: R1.2 Billion For Equalization of Old Age Grants (May 18, 2008)
In South Africa, men are demanding equal treatment in social security checks. Under the current system, woman begin receiving social security at age 60 while men must wait until 65. This system operated under the idea that men were stronger and should work longer than women. Now however, there is a focus on the elderly as a whole and their key role in society. In addition, many men support their orphaned grandchildren whose parents died of HIV/AIDS. Thus there are increasing demands to equalize the system. 


Nigeria: Enugu Clears Arrears of Pensioners (March 22, 2008)
The Nigerian administration of Enugu announced yesterday that it has clarified the situation of 14 months of pensions that were not paid under the previous administration of Governor Chimaroke Nnamani. Beginning now, pensioners will get their pensions on time. Enugu also offered presents to pensioners and congratulated them for their good works. 


South Africa: Keep Pace with Changing Retirement Legislation (March 17, 2008)
The South African government is changing its pension system. First, taxes on personal retirement savings are levied to encourage people to participate in a pension plan. But, the new system also seems to have limits, as some rules favor those with higher incomes. One of the biggest controversies centers around the rights of divorced partners. Participants can now transfer some of their retirement funds into private “investment” funds as the country leans toward privatized options. 


Senegal: Retired Senegalese Want Action (January 17, 2008)

(Article in French)
Retired Senegalese are getting impatient as the government keeps on promising a generous and well managed pension system. The general secretary of the National Association of Senegalese retirees has stated his regret that the Government has not taken action on different propositions discussed during meetings and conferences. He wants the right to speak during the debates over the Senegalese Institute of Retirement Plans. 

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Americas & Caribbean

Reports | Articles



Canada: Income Security and Stability During Retirement in Canada (March 2008)
Using 20-year longitudinal data to follow individuals’ incomes when they retire, authors of this study look at workers with average incomes and those with low incomes. One finding is that income instability declines for all groups as they age, largely because of the stabilizing effect of public pension income sources.




Argentina and Chile: Pension Shocks (December 2008)
(Article in French)
The privatization of pensions systems had disastrous consequences on emerging countries in Latin America. The retirement funds are now linked to the stock exchange. Due to the economic crisis, pensions have dropped following the market shares. After fourteen years of privatization, Argentina recently voted a law of re-nationalization. The aim of this measure is to guarantee to the Argentinean retired population a decent pension. Private investments failed to fulfill this mission in Argentina but also in Chile, Mexico, Uruguay, Bolivia and Peru. 

Mexico: Older Adults are the Most Affected by the Financial Crisis (December 25, 2008)

(Article in Spanish)
The economic crisis that is affecting everyone right now has especially hurt older people. About 75% of them are living without social security or any type of compensation. By the years 2020 and 2030, life expectancy is expected to increase and thus the older people population will also grow, signaling the need for everyone to prepare for inevitable old age. 

Mexico: Retirees Living in Poverty (December 12, 2008)
(Article in Spanish) 
It’s not uncommon to find older people begging for money in the streets of Mexico. Older adults, who dedicated most of their lives to working hard, now can barely sustain themselves and live a life with dignity. The federal government in Mexico has not placed much importance on this matter and promises of reform and help have not been met. In the next few years the number of older persons retiring will increase and they too will probably have to face the harsh reality of insufficient pensions.


Argentina: Argentina Makes Pension Fund Takeover Official (December 8, 2008)
A bill transferring $23 billion in private pension funds to the state has been published in Argentina's official gazette, meaning the nationalization is now law. The law says that the state guarantees pensioners benefits that are "equal or greater" to what they received under the private system. About a fourth of Argentina's 40 million citizens used the private funds. Their $4.5 billion in annual contributions will go to the government as well.


Canada: Protecting Retirement Savings from Seizure (November 25, 2008)
The vast majority of British Columbian workers, entrepreneurs, small business owners and professionals do not have access to corporate or government pension plans. They must save for their retirement themselves through vehicles such as Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSP). A recent change in the law has given RRSP’s the same protection from creditors as pension plans, which is significant because small businesses in British Columbia represent 98% of all businesses and employ over 46% of the population. 


Canada: Pension Plans May Produce Next Wave of Trouble (November 14, 2008)
A research report on pension shortfalls released by Desjardins Securities has identified selected Canadian companies that face large pension fund deficits relative to their earnings and book value. However, the report also states that there is no systemic pension plan crisis and that many companies could fund pension shortfalls with a few months of earnings or cash flow. A recovery in the price of equities would also eliminate the deficits of many pension funds

Canada: Working after Retirement (November 6, 2008)
For many people headed to retirement, planning a post-retirement career is becoming commonplace. However, some financial planners think people may be overlooking important financial considerations when planning part-time retirement work. Retirees should first see if part-time work jeopardizes other benefits they can collect in the form of government pensions and subsidies. In addition, by continuing to work, older persons may not see other opportunities, or different ways, to continue to contribute to society. 

Argentina: The Dilemma of Older Persons (November 3, 2008)

(Article in Spanish)
In the last decade, older adults have been living longer due to improvements in medicine and help from programs such as social security. However, there is a dilemma as to how these people can live happy and stable lives once they retire. Many older adults receive their pensions but sometimes the funds are not enough for them to live stable, worry-free lives. This is evident even more in third world countries. Only the government has the necessary tools to create programs that will help older adults in the future. 


Mexico: Fidel Announces 50 million Pesos More to be Added to the Pensions Older Adults (October 31, 2008)
(Article in Spanish)
The governor of Veracruz, Fidel Herrera Beltran, has announced an increase of 50 million pesos allocated for pensions for older people for 2009. They will be added to the current budget of 270 million used to benefit older persons. The government believes the increase will give elders a more stable home life.  


Argentina: Argentine Lawmakers Plan Curbs on Government Use of Pensions (October 23, 2008)
Following the announcement by Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner to take over ten private pension funds, lawmakers in the country will try to block the government's use of $29 billion in nationalized pension assets to repay debt. At the same time, Congress will seek to weaken the President's control of the panel that oversees pensions by giving a majority of its seats to opposition parties, workers and retirees. 


Venezuela: Old Man who Chained Himself to IVSS to Demand his Pension Dies (October 17, 2008)
(Article in Spanish)
Octavio Morales, 68 years of age, died on Sunday of health complications because he did not receive his pension and had no money to get medical attention. As a protest, he had chained himself to the Venezuelan Institute for Social Security and demanded his pension. Unfortunately, he passed away. It is estimated that about 130 seniors in Crabobo, Venezuela find themselves in the same situation as Morales.


Ecuador : The Majority of Older Persons Don’t Have Social Security (October 4, 2008)
(Article in Spanish) 
Seniors who do not receive pensions often do not have money to pay for their health needs, resulting in a poor quality of life. Under the new Constitution, however, retired older persons will receive pensions that will make it easier for them to take care of their daily needs and thus improve their self-esteem. This will help reduce the psychological problems they suffer due to aging and improve their quality of life. 


Jamaica: Public Sector Pension Programme to Be Overhauled - Minister Shaw (October 3, 2008)
At a recent pension seminar in Jamaica, the Finance Minister, Audley Shaw, emphasized the importance of a vibrant pensions industry to the welfare of the country and the quality of life of Jamaicans. Minister Shaw drew attention to the need for reform in both the private and public pension sectors. The main changes required are to make the public pension system contributory and to continue the development of Jamaica’s private sector pension schemes by introducing portability and mergers.


Chile: Chile’s Pension Reforms in Place (October 2, 2008)
Following the announcement of the opening of Chile's employer-sponsored pension scheme, Ahorro Previsional Voluntario Colectivo (APVC), Osvaldo Andrade, Minister of Labor and Social Security, said: “We are implementing a number of provisions which are either oriented to achieve more equality or enlarging the coverage of the pension system.” Most importantly, the system will correct the pension status of women, who for several reasons were less protected than men and received much lower pensions.


Cuba: Cubans Discuss Social Security Bill (October 1, 2008)
Over 710,000 members of Cuban unions have discussed the Social Security bill, prior to consideration by Parliament scheduled for December this year. Workers have discussed incentives for people to continue working, the basis for estimating pensions for the elders, reinsertion of retired people into the workforce and working conditions. Other key issues include the extension of retirement age and how many years a person is expected to work.


Brazil: Brazil's Pension Deficit to Fall for First Time, Pimentel Says (September 9, 2008)
The pension deficit of Brazil is expected to fall by almost 20% in 2008, thanks to the fastest economic growth (5.76%) in over 12 years. “More workers earning better salaries is adding to more pension contributions,'' Social Security Minister Jose Pimentel said. The deficit decline this year will be the first since 1995, when the pension system started facing shortfalls because of the incorporation of retired rural workers who don’t need to contribute to the pension system to receive the benefit.


Argentina: Argentine Gay Couples May Claim Widow's Pension (August 18, 2008)
Argentina’s government has extended gay couples’ pension rights. The government has granted same sex couples the right to claim a deceased partner’s pension. This now gives same sex couples the same rights as heterosexual married couples.


Ecuador: 1,649 Teachers Must Decide Whether to Retire (August 12, 2008)
(Article in Spanish)
The Ministry of Education is offering 1,649 teachers of the 3,202 registered with the State the opportunity to begin the retirement process voluntarily. Officials still have not given any information about pre-retirement, including details about pensions.


Bolivia: Hit to Pensions (August 11, 2008)
(Article in Spanish)
Evo Morales has made a huge political impact in Bolivia. He announced that the State will replace two administrative private societies that control pension funds. An agreement was reached between the governor and the Bolivian Central Workers organization to change the retirement system. This ends a violent strike that has caused two deaths and thirty-one injuries.


Ecuador: Retiree Needs to Prove He is Alive (August 9, 2008)
(Article in Spanish)
A 78-year old elder needs to prove that he is still alive so there will be no problems with receiving his pension. This year 167,636 retirees will receive pensions due to age or disabilities. According to a new resolution, the Department of Social Work will conduct 2,000 domestic visits to verify if some pension benefactors have passed away and if the families are still receiving the pensions. During the past three years there have been 2,000 irregularities out of 5,000 cases. The President of Ecuador has declared that the country’s social security system is free from fraud.


Venezuela: Housewives and Informal Workers are Happy to Receive Pension (August 6, 2008)
(Article in Spanish)
After years of lobbying, housewives in Venezuela will finally receive Social Security pensions. As a result of the “Ley Habilidad,” which was passed July 31, many workers who were neglected under the previous system--such as domestic and temporary workers--will now receive this benefit. The Social Security reform, which is currently being praised by the Venezuelan people, has also reduced the minimum age to receive pensions to 60 for men and 55 for women. 


Bolivia: Two Miners Killed, Many Hurt in Bolivia Clash (August 5, 2008)
Due to strikes led by Hunani miners, the Presidents of both Argentina and Venezuela have cancelled their trips to Bolivia. The violent protests have resulted in two deaths and many more injuries. Workers claim that the strike, which is being held just days before a recall vote, could potentially remove President Evo Morales from office, will continue until the proposed pension law is passed. 

Bolivia: Strike at the Hunani Tin Mine Costs Bolivia $1.5 mil (August 4, 2008)
Workers at the Hunani tin mine in Bolivia have gone on strike, costing the country 1.5 million dollars. These miners, collaborating with the Bolivian Workers Central (COB), plan to strike until President Morales passes their proposed pension law. This law will increase the amount of pension distributed and lower the retirement age to 55 years. Although the government has recently presented a pension reform, the workers consider it insufficient and “pro-business.” 

Bolivia: Government and Labor Confederation Renew Dialog (August 4, 2008)
(Article in Spanish)
On July 30, the Labor Confederation (COB) occupied the Palace of Communications in La Paz by force and surrounded the building. The Confederation’s efforts launched a national protest demanding passage of new pension legislation. Government officials initially opposed the law because it ignored the concerns of many workers, including those who are self-employed or temporary. In addition, they felt it would only exacerbate the country’s deficit. However, the COB claims it will not end this strike until the proposed law is passed. 


Bolivia: Know the Pension Plan from the Government and the COB (August 1, 2008)

(Article in Spanish)
This article describes the differences between the pension reforms proposed by the Bolivian government and the Bolivian Labor Confederation (COB). While the government wants to provide pensions for all, the COB advocates a pension for only wage-earning workers. In addition, the government wants a Solidarity Fund, which will be financed by contributions from all its beneficiaries.


Argentina: Financial Decisions and Retirement Pensions (July 9, 2008)
(Article in Spanish)
The financial market reveals important information about the future of retirement pensions. People should carefully weigh their decisions. Depending on the regulations in each country, people can decide to take a more activist position when they consider various financial instruments and what is best for their personal retirement plans.


Chile: Impoverished Elderly Receive First Basic Pension in Chile (July 1, 2008)
(Article in Spanish)
Thousands of impoverished older persons will receive a pension of 114 dollars. The benefits will go to 600,000 elders by the end of the month. This major step will help end the poverty of the older generation. These pensions are a tangible product of systematic Chilean provincial reform. By July 1, 2009, the pension will automatically increase to 142 dollars.  


Ecuador: Prohibiting Pension (June 28, 2008)
(Article in Spanish)
The president, Rafael Correa, announced a reform prohibiting bureaucrats from accessing retirement and pension funds. This law was created in response to their abuse of the Central Bank’s funds, which have provided 2,000 bureaucrats with $160 million in pension. As a result, some bureaucrats receive almost double the amount the rest of the state does. According to the country’s constitution, special pension funds can be established for the private sector; however, bureaucrats in the public sector are abusing them the most. 

Argentina: Veterans Collecting Pensions (June 23, 2008)
(Article in Spanish)
The veterans of the War of Chaco began to collect pensions on June 26, 2008. The pension amounts to 1,300,000 guaranis a month, with 17,934 people registered to receive the pension, including veterans and heirs of veterans. 


Ecuador: Retirees Threaten with Actions (June 15, 2008)
(Article in Spanish)
Ecuadorian retirees announced their intentions to take public action if the Institute of Social Security unites with the universal health plan. The retirees oppose the merger since the Social Security program has a huge debt of nearly 3.5 billion dollars. The retirees continue to organize and plan their defensive strategy.


Costa Rica: Pensions for the Disabled and Elderly Increase by 5% (June 10, 2008)
(Article in Spanish)
On July 1st, more than 146,000 disabled and elderly workers will receive a 5% increase in their pensions. This will increase the minimum monthly pension from 82.500 colons to 86.625 colons. The board of the Costa Rican Social Security Fund approved the increase to maintain the monetary value of workers’ monthly pensions. Costa Rica’s pension plan currently covers 57.5% of its workers—the second highest coverage rate in Latin America. 


Chile: Retiree 7% Tax Eliminated (May 24, 2008)
(Article in Spanish)
The Chilean president eliminated the 7% tax on retiree’s health. This decision followed an intense debate. Is the problem the drop of pensions or the 7%? There is no assurance that older persons will have enough money for health expenses. 


Honduras: The IHSS Provides Three Types of Pensions (May 20, 2008)
(Article in Spanish)
The Honduran Institute of Social Security provides three types of pensions. The members enjoy pensions for handicaps, for elders, and for survival. An elder’s pension must be calculated. People can qualify for pensions when they become 65 years old and retired from their company. If the member passes away, family members can receive their pension. 


Honduras: Be Careful with Finances (May 20, 2008)
(Article in Spanish)
Women should be informed about how to avoid getting trapped financially when planning their future. Women receive half the retirement pension that men receive and thus need to plan ahead, especially because their retirement needs may include caring for children in the family. 


Argentina: Future Retirees Can Receive Up to 75% of Salary (May 11, 2008)
(Article in Spanish)
In Argentina the elderly can receive an initial pension of 75%. The retirement pensions have increased since 2005. The increase of the PBU stopped in 2007. The new retirees are not receiving any increases given after this year. 


Uruguay: Supreme Court of Justice Changes Position Regarding Retirement Pension (April 30, 2008) 
(Article in Spanish)
The Supreme Court of Justice has changed its position on the legality of imposing a retirement pension tax. A group of retirees of the Ministry of Economics and Finances says that the tax is “unconstitutional.” The retirees presented evidence of unconstitutionality to the Supreme Court of Justice. The government has yet to determine whether to eliminate the tax.

Cuba: Cuba’s Government Raises Retirement Pensions 20% (April 28, 2008)             

(Article in Spanish)       

The Cuban government has just raised retirement pensions and social assistance by 20%. The increase benefits over two million people. About 20% of the population shows signs of ageing. Raul Castro has raised pensions and salaries since taking office.  Also, Cubans will now have access to lodging at island hotels, computers, and cell phones.

Cuba: Raul Castro Raises Pension by Two Dollars (April 28, 2008)
(Article in Russia)
Cuban President Raul Castro decided to increase pensions by 20% as compensation to those who “dedicated a great part of their lives to working... and who remain firm in defense of socialism." Minimum pensions will be increased by around $2 reaching the level of $12 per month. 

Peru: Retirees Receiving an Adequate Amount? (April 23, 2008)
(Article in Spanish)
In Peru, retirees bring many claims about their pensions to the ONP and its Judicial Authorities. Retirees have many doubts and questions about the amount and adjustment of their pensions. It is necessary for the government to evaluate the ONP’s resolutions that limit or deny access to pensions to or to readjusting pensions. This generates an excess of claims in the judicial processes. A pension problem can last from three to four years. 

Chile: Only 60% of Elders Over 65 Receive Retirement Pension (April 7, 2008)
(Article in Spanish)
This study about the older people in Chile shows that the third age has not only increased, but that they are more active and also worried about their health. From 1990 to 2006, the population over 60 that took preventative exams increased from 15.3% to 25%. This only increased 9% to 11% amongst the rest of the population. The retirement pension has decreased from 66% to 60% during the last 14 years. Elders feel the vulnerability of their current economic situation..

Peru: Peru's Booming Pension Funds Eye Mortgages, Ports (March 31, 2008)
The Peruvian pension fund system was born more than 10 years ago. It has risen at the rate of 20 percent a year to a total of $22 billion in deposits. Workers in the private sectors must contribute about 13% of their salary to this pension fund. However, the majority of Peruvians in the top economic level are not enrolled in pension funds. Their additional contributions would add even more jobs and give an overall lift to the economy. 

Mexico: Errors Detected in the Mexican Gauges (March 28, 2008)
(Article in Spanish)
Mexico has been slow to analyze and correct its pension system, which has resulted in abuse on the part of some industries and has prejudiced the rights of the workers. While Mexico has been behind other countries in updating its system, a more vigilant study will assure that workers receive the benefits to which they are entitled. 


Trinidad and Tobago: Minister: Pension System Reform Critical (March 28, 2008)
The Minister Karen Nunez-Tesheira from Trinidad and Tobago wants pension reform to increase the economic situation in her country. She believes this money could “be used to develop new financial institutions and deepen capital markets by mobilizing long-term saving and allocating it to the productive uses." While this economic view should not be the first interest behind pension reform, it is critical to understand the effects of a progressive pension system on the whole economy.


Dominican Republic: Construction Trade Pensioners Await Resources (March 5, 2008)
(Article in Spanish)
Twelve hundred workers in the informal construction sector receive pensions due to age, retirement or handicaps. They receive a very low monthly pension payment on which they cannot survive. The Fund and Retirement Pensions of Construction Workers is $3,100 million in debt to the Dominican state and private sectors. The executive director, Luis Manuel Glass, says they are working to satisfy the workers’ needs on a national level. 

Chile: Congress Approves the Reform of the State of Pensions in Chile (January 17, 2008) 
(Article in Spanish)
In a major achievement, Michelle Bachelet, the President of Chile, proposed and won Congressional support for a basic social pension of $120. It’s designed for older persons who have no pension from their years in the workforce. This social pension will cost $850 million and is expected to become law. Most old Chileans suffer from poverty due to the privatization of public pensions under the rule of dictator Pinochet. Now, this disastrous policy may well be reversed.


Philippines: At Large: Pension for Seniors (March 04, 2008)
Older Filipinos face different situations depending on the city where they live. At best, some cities have created special plans and benefits for older persons. Others focus only on younger people’s programs. However, the aging population will grow by almost 15% in the next few years. That is why the government is devising a social pension program that will grant every person over 60 years a small amount of money, so that they at least can cope with their basic needs. GAA greatly encourages the government to adopt this measure. 

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Asia Pacific

Reports | Articles


Australia: Pension Review Background Paper (August 2008)
This lenghty report examines the financial situation of Australia's elders and the social security and pension systems which serve them. Around 4.7 million Australians receive pensions or allowances from the government; the government spent $71 billion dollars in 2006-7, 6.8% of GDP. Most pensioners have low private incomes, with over half earning less than $20 a week. The Australian government is currently considering changing its pension system, whose guiding principles are taking care of those unable to work, making proper incentives for those able to work to do so, and making the whole system self-sufficient.

India: Understanding Poverty Among the Elderly in India: Implications for Social Pension Policy (April, 2008)
The authors argue that the circumstances of poor elderly in India demands a careful look. First, households with elder relatives do not have higher poverty rates than non-elderly households. However, the poor elders have high mortality rates. This has implications for the Government of India’s new policy to increase social pension funding to the poor older people. It suggests that programs reducing elderly mortality may increase the relative poverty levels of the elderly.

China: Mending China's Buckling Social Security (March 7, 2008)
Chinese officials are working hard to ensure that the entire society is covered by some form of social security, an issue that directly affects social stability. The report uses five cases to illustrative the current conditions of aging in China . The cases include a new experiment with rural elders in some regions, i.e., offering them social security payments in exchange for their land. 

China: The Latin American Experience in Pension System Reform: Coverage, Fiscal Issues and Possible Implications for China (2008)
In the past two decades, Latin American countries changed their pension systems, focusing on problems in the contributory schemes - fiscal unsustainability, low coverage levels and a high degree of segmentation- and barely addressed the non-contributory element. The Latin experience shows that the intended changes did not resolve the problems. The Latin American experience shares similarities with that of China with respect to coverage and labor market informality. Both cases attest to the importance of combining contributory and non-contributory elements in pension design. 


China: The Increase of Social Security Level Will Increase Consumer Confidence (December 19, 2008)
(Article in Chinese)
The increase of the social security level will provide safety nets for Chinese people and increase consumer confidence. Hence, the investment in social security will not only provide protection, it will directly stimulate consumption and economic growth. 

India: Bill on Social Security for Unorganized Workers Passed (December 18, 2008)
India passed a national bill to provide welfare measures for unorganized workers. Ninety-four percent of the working class employed in the unorganized sector will receive benefit of health, life and disability insurance, old-age pension, and the group accident scheme. The government also seeks to provide a minimum of 100 days of employment to those in the unorganized sector and raise their wages. 

Japan: Looming Threat on Pensions (December 8, 2008)
(Article in French)
40 per cent of the population of Japan are expected be over 65 by 2050. Despite a reform of the pension system in 2004 the Japanese government remains concerned about providing adequate income for older persons. A scandal involving the loss of about 50 million pension records and the global financial crisis do not make it any easier for the Japanese Government to meet this challenge.

Japan: Pension Funding Expansion Faces Delay (December 5, 2008)
Japan’s newly elected Prime Minister, Taro Aso, said when he took office that he would carry out the increase in the state's funding of the basic pension system to half from one-third in April 2009. But when he was asked recently about the timing, Aso said he was not particular about staying on schedule. Many politicians were thinking of raising the consumption tax to fund the jump in the government's pension burden, but Aso has said he won't raise taxes until the economy has fully recovered. It seems like the increase in funding will be put on hold until the economic crisis has subsided.

India: HIV Infected To Get Pensions with Physically Challenged (December 2, 2008)
Minister for Health & Family Welfare, Sambhani Chandrasekhar, announced at the World Aids Day program held at Ravindra Bharathi, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, that he would inform the government of a pending proposal to give pensions to the HIV-infected population undergoing Anti Retroviral Therapy treatment. These pension payments would be on a par with those given to the physically challenged. According to National Aids Control Organization estimates, Andhra Pradesh accounts for 22% of the infected population in India. 

India: Government Is Liberal In Granting Pensions to Deserved: Rajya Lakshmi (November 22, 2008)
Women and Child Welfare Minister N. Rajya Lakshmi declared that the State government is liberal in granting pensions to aged persons, widows, handloom weavers and physically handicapped persons in the district of Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, India. The old age pension, weavers pension to those weavers who are 55 years and above, and widows pension is Rs 200 ($4) per month. The minimum pension for the physically handicapped is Rs 500 ($10) per month. The pension may increase to Rs 700 ($14) per month depending upon the degree of disability.

China: Pension for the Aged (November 21, 2008)
The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security in China will raise the pension for retirees nationwide by 10% beginning in January. After six consecutive years of raising pension payments, the average monthly pension for retirees from the State-owned enterprises will be 1,200 yuan ($176) by the year 2010. It is not difficult to figure out how meager their pensions were just a few years ago. These retirees lived through some of the most difficult times in China’s recent history and laid the foundation for the country’s current economic prosperity.

Japan: Panel: High Earners Should Pay More toward Pensions (November 21, 2008)
Premiums for the government-managed pension program for Japanese corporate employees are calculated at 15.35% of a worker's standard monthly pay. Employees and employers share premiums equally. Interim recommendations on pension system reform drawn up by the pension sub-panel of the Social Security Council include a proposal that high-income earners shoulder more of the burden for their pensions. 

China: How to Cope with the Financial Crisis: the New Strategy for Investment of China Social Security Fund (November 12, 2008)
(Article in Chinese)
To cope with the challenge of a rapidly aging population and a deep global financial crisis, China’s Social Security fund is challenged to seek new strategies for stable and profitable investments. The fund should consider selectively investing in China’s stimulus package for basic infrastructure development. In the meantime, the state needs to cut industry costs to promote employment and add value to social security funds. 

China: Discussions on Possible Postponement of Retirement Age and Improvement of Social Security (November 12, 2008)
(Article in Chinese)
China is considering postponing retirement age for men and women to 65. Starting with female workers from 2010 and male workers from 2015, the State may postpone retirement age by one year every three years until the retirement age reaches 65. In this article, Zheng Gongchen, Professor on labor and social security from Renming University and the head of China Social Security Development Strategy Team, offers his insights on these potential measures. 

India: Decision to Curb Benefits under EPF Pension Scheme Put On Hold (November 11, 2008)
Bowing to pressure from all major labor unions, the Indian government decided to put on hold the decision to curb benefits under the Employee Provident Fund (EPF) pension scheme. The government had earlier made a decision to reduce selected benefits in the scheme to enable it to meet a contingent liability deficit. All employee unions had unanimously sought a reversal of the government notification and expressed dismay that the government would take such a decision without consulting the ten-member representatives of the employees at the Central Board of Trustees of the EPF. 

Japan: 'Buried Treasure' Eyed For Pensions (November 9, 2008)
To comply with the pension reform law set forth in 2004, the Japanese government and the ruling coalition parties have decided to raise the government's burden of paying pension benefits from one-third to a half beginning in April 2009. To support this increase in the government’s responsibility for financing pensions, the original intention was to raise the national consumption (sales) tax, but this is now deemed undesirable due to the current global economic crisis. Instead, the government has decided to create a Special Account to provide funds for pensions. 

China: Delaying Retirement: Pushing the Retirement Age for Men and Women to 65? (November 6, 2008)
(Article in Chinese)
Recently, at the third Forum on China labor, experts gathered in Beijing to discuss the shortfall in funds needed to cover pension payments and related benefits. Related departments are proposing to extend the statutory retirement age of workers to age 65 by 2015.

China: Chinese Savers Fear Pension Won’t Be Enough: Survey (November 5, 2008)
China’s pension system covers 215 million people in cities and 51.7 million in rural areas. The rest of the population of 1.3 billion either have no pension coverage at all or receive a reduced salary after retirement from their employers, which are mostly state-owned enterprises. In a recent online survey covering 6,919 people, eight out of ten of the Chinese respondents said that they save money and reduce spending because they do not trust the government to help out when they retire or if they fall sick.

India: Government Tightens Pension Rules (November 3, 2008)
Employees desiring to withdraw part of their pension fund at the time of retirement will not get to do so anymore because the Indian Government has tightened withdrawal rules. At the same time, if a subscriber desires to draw a monthly pension from a date earlier than 58 years of age, the Government has increased the rate of reduction of the pension payment to 4% from 3% per year. Although unions supported the implementation of the original Employees Pension Scheme, there are now claims that the government has withdrawn some of those benefits without giving heed to central trade unions. 

Australia: Emergency Funds Unfrozen for Retirees (October 30, 2008)
Retirees in Australia will be able to tap money in frozen mortgage funds for emergencies, under proposals being finalised by regulators and the industry. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission and Treasury are working on a plan that would allow retirees to access their savings in emergency cases, such as paying a nursing-home bond, settling a house purchase or for medical purposes. "It's about giving people some comfort that if they do have a serious issue they can access these funds," said National Seniors Australia chief executive Michael O'Neill.

Hong Kong: HK to Raise Pension Payouts (October 24, 2008)
With Hong Kong officials and economists warning of an impending recession as soon as this quarter, the city's leader Donald Tsang bowed to public pressure on Friday and said he would provide more support to the needy by raising the Old Age Allowance by around 30% to HK$1,000 (S$193) a month for those over 65 years of age. Tsang said he would also shelve means testing for this payout because of an 'overwhelmingly negative' outcry that saw hundreds of angry pensioners hit the streets this week.

China: China Raises Pensions for Veterans, Bereaved Families, Disabled Servicemen (October 22, 2008) 
China currently has 890,000 disabled servicemen, 500,000 family members of fallen soldiers and about 55,000 veterans of the Chinese Workers' and Peasants' Red Army. Pensions for the disabled and family members of fallen soldiers will be raised by 20% and 15% respectively. Veterans' pensions will be raised to 15,720 yuan (about $2,200) annually, 14% more than the average amount of the annual disposable income for the country's urban residents. As of 2009, all pensions will be paid directly to recipients rather than via local authorities.

Sri Lanka: Farmers’ and Fishermen’s Pensions: Do they Realize their Objectives? (October 21, 2008)
In Sri Lanka, about 70% of the working age population does not have a pension scheme. Even for pension plans that are in place, such as the Farmers and Fisherman Schemes, only about half of the 1.2 million farmers and 115,000 fishermen who are eligible have enrolled in their respective plans. In addition, approximately 30-40% of members in both schemes have defaulted, often because incomes for farmers and fishermen are low and irregular, and they find it difficult to contribute regularly. To obtain income, many farmers and fishermen work well past the retirement age of 60. 

Philippines: Unpaid Pension Premiums Piling Up (October 15, 2008)
The Majority Leader of the House of Representatives in the Philippines, Arthur Defensor, has cited documents from the Congressional Planning and Budget Department which indicate that as of December 2006, a total of P4.2 billion (almost $100 million) in Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) premiums of government employees remained unpaid. Defensor claims that many public servants cannot make use of loans from the GSIS or enjoy pension benefits because their offices failed to remit their contributions.

Australia: Pensioners on the Bread Line (October 6, 2008)
Although the Australian government recently unlocked A$20 billion to fast-track infrastructure spending, they consistently refuse to grant an A$30-a-week rise for single pensions, at a cost of A$1.4 billion. At the same time, the findings of an exit poll taken at last November's election demonstrated that 62.6% of Australians thought aged pensioners deserve more money. 

India: Pension Scheme for All Individuals by 2009 (October 6, 2008)
The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) of India is finalizing its plan to incorporate individuals who are neither employed with central or state governments into the new pension scheme through which they can plan and invest for retirement. “It will be opened nationwide for anyone on a low cost basis and we have fixed our final date as April 1, 2009 for implementation,” said D Swarup, chairman, PFRDA.

Japan: Pension Data in Over 1 mil. Cases in Doubt (October 4, 2008)
Like the crisis gripping the world’s financial markets, the scandal concerning the falsifying of pension data in Japan seems to becoming worse and worse. The Social Insurance Agency has been charged with tampering with a number of corporate employee pension records. This number has grown from 69,000 to over one million. Reductions made to the monthly base income data of employees and the withdrawal of those employees from the social insurance scheme mean that many people are not receiving the pensions to which they are entitled.

Taiwan: National Pension System to Take Effect on Oct. 1 (September 30, 2008)
Taiwan has introduced a national pension system which makes it possible for people aged 25 to 65 who are not covered by military, civil service, teacher or labor insurance programs, as well as farmers under the age of 65, to join the program. The new system will cover an estimated 3.53 million people, including the jobless, street vendors, housekeepers, naturalized foreign spouses and students older than 25.

Japan: Govt May Ease Pension Criteria/Exemptions for Families, Automatic Premium Reductions Proposed (September 28, 2008)
To strengthen the public pension system and to secure minimum living standards for older persons, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry in Japan is proposing significant revisions which include: reducing premiums for low-income earners without requiring them to fill out applications; shortening the minimum premium payment period for receipt of pension payouts from its current 25-year level to only 10 years and changing the age range for compulsory participation from 20-60 to 25-65 years of age. 

South Korea: Risky Gamble on National Pension (September 26, 2008)
South Korea’s National Pension Service (NPS) President Park Hae-choon apologized to the public for mismanaging public funds. The fund recorded a return of minus 1% by investing in equities, fixed-income securities and alternative assets both at home and abroad between January and August this year. Despite the apology, the NPA has performed much better than Japan's Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF) and the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS), which recorded returns of minus 4.1% and 5.2% respectively in the first six months of this year.

India: Regulator Makes Case for ‘Defined Contribution’ Pension Scheme (September 26, 2008)
India is proposing to increase the exposure of a government pension scheme to equity markets. Twenty-one states in India have opted for this plan where pensioners’ money is managed by PSU fund mangers. Currently, only 15% of the fund corpus may be invested in equity markets. Under the new proposal, a pensioner can take 10-50% exposure in equities, 40-100% in government bonds and 25-40% in corporate bonds depending on his/her risk appetite. 

Philippines: Pension Funds Hit For Silence on Lehman Investment Exposure (September 22, 2008) 
The Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), which includes almost half a million teachers and non-teaching staff nationwide, and the Social Security System SSS, the biggest government-operated pension fund for private-sector employees and workers, have both been criticized for not publicizing their exposure to the financial crisis in the United States. The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) slammed the GSIS for its “absolute lack of transparency with respect to its investments overseas.” 

Vietnam: 1.8 million People to Get Higher Pensions, Allowance (September 15, 2008)
As inflation increases, the government in Vietnam is raising pension payments by 15% on October 1. In addition to retirees, state employees who are physically incapacitated and receive allowances will benefit from the increase. The government is also proposing a second increase within twelve months for people who contributed to wars of resistance. An increase of 20% in January 2008 was granted, with plans for a further increase of 15% in October for these people.

Australia: Govt's Claim on Pensions Undermined (September 13, 2008)
The attacks on the Prime Minister of Australia and his government over their refusal to grant an immediate raise of about 10% in pension payments continue. Documents released under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that the federal government's claim that it must wait for a review before raising the age pension has been undermined by the revelation that it considered a detailed submission on the question before the May budget.  "It is now clear Mr Rudd's committee on pensions is just a cynical smokescreen hiding his deliberate refusal to help Australia's pensioners," Fairfax newspapers quoted Opposition Leader Brendan Nelson as saying.

Japan: Japan Faces Pension Crisis as Number of People Over 100 Passes 36,000 (September 12, 2008)
(Article also available in Russian)
Almost 4,000 people in Japan have passed the age of 100 in the last twelve months, which is more than 10% of the total population of centenarians currently living in the United States. Japan, whose population is about one-third the size of the United States, already has more centenarians than all 50 states combined. The figures are a testament to Japan's traditional low-fat diet and high standards of living and medical care, However, Japan's rapidly ageing population is expected to place unprecedented strain on the country's pension system.

China: China May Launch New Social Pension System for Farmers (September 12, 2008)
A new pension system for farmers will be launched by the end of the year, according to a Beijing-based magazine. Details will be submitted to officials within the year and the pilot program launched nationwide. The plan combines personal accounts and the basic government pension. Farmers under the old personal accounts system received pensions lower than the minimum standard, many less than 10 Yuan per month. 

Japan: Pension Revelation Tip of Iceberg / SIA Survey Suggests Falsification of Pension Premium Records Rampant (September 11, 2008)
The falsification of pension records by state officials in Japan is a warning to all workers everywhere to check routinely and verify that their pension contributions are based on their correct current salary or wage. All workers should also ensure that if they are approaching retirement or changing employers they should confirm their pension payments and keep a record themselves before they retire or leave the company. These actions may also avoid problems if the state computer system fails or records are lost (which recently happened in the United Kingdom).

Japan: 'Missing Pensions' Scandal Engulfs Japan's PM Candidates (September 10, 2008) 
Following the abrupt resignation of the prime minister of Japan, five candidates from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party are standing for election. One of the candidates, Minister of Economic and Fiscal Policy Kaoru Yosano, has put pension reform at the top of his manifesto. A key component of the reform is to rename the consumption tax (sales tax) as the "social security tax" so that all the revenues can be ploughed back into covering the nation's ballooning medical, pension and nursing care costs.

Australia: Gillard ‘Couldn’t Survive’ on Aged Pension (September 8, 2008)
The Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard, and the Treasurer of Australia, Wayne Swan, have both admitted that neither of them could survive on the age pension of A$280 (US$225) per week. Even with an increase later this month, Gillard acknowledged that pensioners face difficulties and cost pressures. "Pensioners, particularly single pensioners, have been doing it tough for a long period of time,” she said. 

India: Rational Expectations (September 8, 2008)
Of the 450 million workers in India, less than 5% have some provision for life after work. Although there is a government pension scheme and government-backed savings plans, they attract less than 15 million workers. The main two reasons for the lack of participation in saving for retirement are the poor marketing of the government’s schemes and legislation that prohibits private pension funds. Conversely, almost 25% of workers in India have made provision for their dependents, with over 105 million life insurance policyholders. 

Australia: Pensioners Take Aim at Rudd (September 6, 2008)
Following last week’s announcement of an increase in pension payments of 2.8%, an individual pensioner managed to secure a one-on-one interview with Australia’s Prime Minister to present a petition asking for an increase of 10% in pension payments. Margot Wall, a pensioner from Tasmania, managed to gain access to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd when he visited Launceston. A 10% increase in pension payments is also the current demand from the Australian Green Party.

Australia: Pensions, Support Payments Rise with CPI (September 2, 2008)
Pensions in Australia, indexed to the consumer price index (CPI), will rise by 2.8% on September 20, at the same time as the scheduled CPI increase. The single pension will rise to A$280 (US$235) per week, but opposition politicians are claiming that the cost of living for pensioners is in excess of the CPI .

Japan: Pension Funding Deadline (September 2, 2008)
Promises of higher funding for national pensions are under threat in Japan. In 2004, the government promised to use additional tax income to cover half of the basic portion of the national pension by 2009. With the realization that an increase in consumption tax will be needed to raise the necessary taxes, the current government is weighing the unpopularity of such a step against their political survival. The result is rumors of a delay in fulfilling the 2004 promises.

Australia: Ageing Population 'May Bankrupt Budget' (August 26, 2008)
National Seniors Australia, the country’s largest independent organization for people 50 and over, has claimed Australia's ageing population is a more serious issue than climate change. By 2030 the population of Australia will consist of more people over 50 than those under 50. National Seniors is calling for the government to take action to ensure that the national pension fund does not dry up.

Taiwan: Unemployment Pension Payment Age Hiked to 65 (August 22, 2008)
The Taiwanese government has increased the age at which people can claim jobless insurance. The age has been raised from 60 to 65. Raising the age means that people can work into later life with a safety net, in case of unemployment. This is in line with the official retirement age of 65. There are around 5 million people covered by the Employment Insurance Law. Expenses for employment insurance will increase by NT$8 billion per year.

India: Social Security to Become a Right (August 22, 2008)
The Union Cabinet has approved the Unorganized Sector Workers’ Social Security Bill. People working in the unorganized sector will gain increased rights. The bill will provide pension rights for the aged and insurance for accidental death. 

India: Haryana Introduces New Pension Scheme (August 19, 2008)
The government of India has introduced a new pension scheme for government workers. The plan requires workers to contribute 10% of their monthly salary to the new pension. In turn, the government will put in an equal amount for each worker's contribution.

China: Revision to Pension Plan Benefits Elders in Changzhou City (August 14, 2008) 
(Article in Chinese)
Changzhou City has revised its pension plan. After amendments, men and women who have reached 60 years and 55 years respectively, and have lived in the city for 10 years without regular financial support, can now enroll in a new pension scheme. This will enable people over 75 years to receive payouts of between 200 to 400 Yuan (about 30 to 60 US dollars) monthly. Such payouts will ensure a regular source of income for seniors and see to their everyday needs.

Australia: Single Retirees Worse Off in Oz (August 12, 2008)
Rudd’s government Pension Review has revealed that single pensioners find difficulty in meeting basic costs of living. It also estimates that Australian single pensioners only receive 60 percent of the combined couple rate, which is lower than the OECD average of 63 percent. Thirteen percent of pensioners do not have private income and rely on government checks for their expenses. It is critical that the government increase the pension to allow older single people to live above the poverty line. 

China: New Pension Insurance Scheme in Rural China Benefits Older People (August 4, 2008)
Here’s more information about the new Rural Social Pension Insurance Program that China is putting in place. The program is one of the government’s first attempts to decrease poverty among the nation’s elderly. It provides greater income security to its beneficiaries and decreases dependency. Although this insurance pension has helped many older persons, Help Age International maintains that improvements still need to be made, including an increase in the amount of pension distributed. 

Hong Kong: Building Maintenance Grant Scheme for Elders (August 2, 2008) 
(Article in Chinese)
Hong Kong has launched a building maintenance grant scheme for elderly owners. Elderly owners and occupiers can make use of this financial scheme to repair and make safety improvements to their self-occupied buildings. Each owner/occupier over 60 years old is eligible for a maximum of HK$40,000 (about 5,500 US Dollars) within a 5-year period. This plan is expected to benefit some 30,000 seniors and is expected to cost the government HK$1 billion (about 135 million US Dollars).

China: Close to 500,000 Elders in Beijing Receive Welfare Pension (August 2, 2008)
(Article in Chinese)
From February 22 to May 5, 2008, a total of 482,600 seniors qualified for the “Welfare pension.” This includes 125,600 elders in the non-farming trades, and 357,000 elders in the farming industries. Each Beijing resident aged 60 years and above will receive a monthly payout of 200 Yuan. Those who do not enjoy the benefits of social security pension can apply for this welfare pension plan. 

China: Elders over 80 years in San Shui District to get Monthly Allowance (July 8, 2008) 
(Article in Chinese)
San Shui district in Fo Shan City has been nicknamed “China’s longevity village.” It has over 10,500 elders above 80 years old and 83 seniors above 100 years old. The city has decided that as of October 2008, older persons between 80-89 years will get 100 Yuan monthly, those between 90-99 years will get 150 Yuan monthly and those over 100 years old will get 300 Yuan monthly. This payout is expected to cost the government 13,000,000 Yuan annually.

China: Government Invests in Pension Scheme (June 27, 2008)
(Article in Chinese)
Dong Chang district of the Tong Hua administrative division has come up with a basic health and pension plan. Each older person aged 60 years and above will be given no less than 60 Yuan monthly in pension subsidy. A total of 3,600 recipients are expected to benefit, and the government is expected to disburse 2,700,000 Yuan yearly.

China: Ju Rong City Seniors to Receive 30 Yuan Monthly Allowance (June 7, 2008)
(Article in Chinese)
Ju Rong City has stipulated that seniors over 65 years of age and without a fixed income will receive a monthly allowance of 30Yuan. This will go into effect on July 1, 2008. There are close to 60,000 older persons who will receive this allowance. The payout is expected to cost an estimated 20,000,000 Yuan annually. Other districts such as Dan Tu District are expected to follow suit in the near future, although final details have not been worked out. 

China: More Effort Needed to Sustain Pension System (May 14, 2008)
(Article in Chinese)
China’s pension system faces several shortcomings. First, the basic pension coverage rate is low with not enough money invested. Second, variations exist in standards of pension across districts. Third, the pension system has not reached a satisfactory standard. Although the pension rate was raised from 500 hundred million Yuan in 2003 to 1300 hundred million Yuan in 2007, the rate of subscribers remained low compared to that of developed countries. At present, subscribers to enterprise-led pension schemes total about 1.5%. 

China: Beijing Seniors Without Social Security to Receive Welfare Pension (May 12, 2008) 
(Article in Chinese)
Beijing has 2,360,000 seniors over 60 years old and close to 700,000 of them do not have any social security. Among these, 510,000 are rural elders. Beginning this year, 2008, elders without social security can receive 200 Yuan monthly from a Welfare Pension scheme. In the three months of February to May 2008, 125,600 urban elders and 357,000 rural seniors have registered for the Welfare Pension. The government has invested 16.8 hundred million Yuan into this scheme. Revisions to the scheme are expected based on the financial costs and the prosperity of Beijing’s economy.

New Zealand: Labour Force Growth Set to Slow as Boomers Age (May 7, 2008)
According to recent projections by Statistics New Zealand, and for the first time in history, the labor force in New Zealand will decrease by 2011. Fifteen thousand fewer people are expected if both the birth and immigration rates keep decreasing. The birth rate will decrease to reach 1.9 children per woman by 2020, from about 2.1 today. In 2006, the median age for workers was 40; by 2011 it will be 42. This decrease raises questions about pensions: Who will pay for them and how can intergenerational solidarity be maintained?

China: Henan Province to Increase Pension Payout (May 5, 2008)
(Article in Chinese)
From 2010, pensioners will see their pensions increase 14% to 1200 Yuan per month from 1050 Yuan a month. The Henan pension system covers over 9.2 million people and in 2007 it took in 302 hundred million Yuan and paid out 237 hundred million Yuan. Total fund accumulation increased to 287 hundred million Yuan. Henan’s basic pension scheme has undergone five adjustments in the last eight years, increasing from 546Yuan per person monthly in 2003 to 1050Yuan in 2008. 

China: Pension Fund to Double to 1 Trillion Yuan (April 15, 2008)
The National Social Security Fund (NSSF) is the national pension fund in China created in 2000. The government funds NSSF through state-owned shares. Economists expect this fund to double its income by 2010. Authorities plan to invest in various sectors, such as finance, energy and transportation.

India: Tips to Plan Early Retirement (April 15, 2008)
In this article, Amar Pandit gives tips to Indian workers who want to retire early. He explains how important it is to invest your money without taking too many risks and emphasizes the need to have a roof over your head before you retire. Also, a major priority is to save money for the younger generations, even in the case of an early retirement. 

India: Pension Push to Widen Reach (April 14, 2008)
Many people accuse the Indian government of delaying the adoption of a good and affordable pension plan. Indeed, parliament just adopted a law that will extend the pension scheme for only 37 Indian people. There is increasing demand for a national pension plan. Representatives seem now to be considering private pension funds that workers would fund with their own salaries. 

Japan: The Archipelago of Lost Pensions (March 28, 2008)
(Article in French)
The Japanese administration must face a major issue: find the owners of massive amounts of pension funds. From 1961 to 1997, workers got a notebook where the administration recorded their pension contributions. If they changed jobs, they got new notebooks, with new accounts. But in 1997, authorities wanted to merge all the accounts, a mistake that brought about a huge loss of data. Besides this problem, orthographic issues linked to the system computerization in the 80’s added to the mess. This loss of data has thrown the Japanese into panic. They wonder if the government has lost their pensions.

India: Now, Work Just 20 Years for Full Pension (March 25, 2008)
The Indian Government has proposed to raise the pension benefit for government workers. If the proposition is accepted, civil servants will have to work only 20 years, instead of the current 33 years to get a full pension. It is a very expensive measure that will lean on the taxpayers and will cost the government an additional Rs 1,365 crore per annum. Does the government want shorter careers for civil servants in order to open jobs to younger persons sooner?

Pakistan: OPF Reactivates Pension Scheme for Overseas Pakistanis (March 16, 2008)
In 2001, the Overseas Pakistanis Foundation (OPF) launched a pension plan for Pakistani citizens abroad. This measure was supposed to bring financial protection and rights for many Pakistani people who often send home resources for the development of their country but don’t have social security. The plan began in February 2008. Now, Pakistani's abroad can contribute to a social insurance plan. 

China: China’s New Empty Nest (March 10, 2008)
Economic development and social changes are threatening China’s multi-generation family pattern. There are discussions about phasing out the policy of allowing only one child per family. Many lonely elderly people are finding ways to have someone to talk to or take care of them. Despite several policies to build an elderly care and pension system as well as to educate young people about caring for and respecting seniors, the government recognizes that its efforts cannot sufficiently support its aging population. 

China: JiangSu Province: DongHai District Brought New Initiatives to Rural Pension (February 26, 2008)
(Article in Chinese)
DongHai District in JiangSu province has 960,000 rural residents, of which only 480,000 participate in the rural pension scheme. Nevertheless, its pension premium payment has far exceeded the assigned amount. The participation rate here is tops among in the northern region of the province, and the government describes it as a “miracle.” This is due to several initiatives such as the “811 policy”, the “433 policy,” the 10-year guarantee policy, etc.

South Korea: Three Aims of South Korea’s Pro-Aging Policies (February 19, 2008) 
(Article in Chinese)
The first policy aim is to ensure that seniors are financially stable. Each employee contributes a proportion of his or her monthly salary into a pension scheme. At 60 years, a sum equivalent to approximately 50% of the monthly salary can be drawn monthly. Needy elders over 70 years old will be given a maximum of 84,000 Korean Won monthly. The second aim is to provide good healthcare through specialized seniors’ hospitals and other long term care facilities. The third aim is to create opportunities for societal involvement such as 12 hour weekly jobs and working 7 months a year.

China: Research Paper Points Out Shortcomings in China’s Pension System (February 17, 2008)
(Article in Chinese)
After January 1, 2008, Beijing raised the average monthly pension payments per person from 1380 RMB to 1580 RMB. This is the highest increase since the establishment of the pension system began. However, a recently published paper from the University of Leicester pointed out two main shortcomings of the system: the gap between supply and demand, and a weakness in the management plan. The paper used UK policies as its system model. 

China: New Application Procedures for Welfare Pension Payment (February 15, 2008)
(Article in Chinese)
The Beijing Municipal Labor and Social Security Department has announced a “Procedure for Pension Payment in Beijing Town/Village.” According to the new procedure, non-social security holders must apply for payment at local social security offices. Applications must pass eligibility verification at a higher-level office before any approvals are made. Processing time may take up to 20 days; after that, payments will be issued through bank accounts. 

China: Beijing: 730,500 Elderly Residents To Receive Pension beginning May 2008 (January 30, 2008)
(Article in Chinese)
According to the Beijing Labor and Social Security Department, the city will implement new pension and rural insurance policies beginning in May 2008. Under the new policies, 700,000 elderly will receive pension payments and 30,500 others will get rural insurance. After completing this step, Beijing will become the first city in China to achieve full pension and insurance coverage. 

China: Details About Beijing Pension and Insurance Schemes Implementation (January 29, 2008)
(Article in Chinese)
Beijing has organized an insurance and rural pension mobilization convention to introduce details of elderly insurance and rural pension plans. Under the two schemes, non-insured registered seniors over 60 years old will receive 200 Yuan per person monthly. The schemes also specify 5 types of seniors who do not qualify for the welfare pension grant. Those who are eligible have to apply for payment and will be paid through bank accounts. 

China: Henan: Retirement Pension to Increase by 105 Yuan/Person/Month (January 25, 2008)
(Article in Chinese)
As of 2008, Henan province started pension adjustments for retirees from more than 190 enterprises. According to this plan, monthly pension payments will increase by 105 Yuan per person. Since 2005, the average pension has been raised by approximately 290 Yuan, reaching a total of 1,025 Yuan. The Henan Labor and Social Security Office confirmed that after three years pensions will reach 1,200 Yuan. 

Japan: Half of Japan's Elderly Poor Won't Get Pensions, Nikkei Says (January 22, 2008)
As the total social welfare spending reaches 2.6 trillion Yen this year, Japan has realized its huge financial obligation for elder care. The number of older people relying on welfare has doubled in the last seven years. While the country tries to help its aging population, more than half of the 556,000 over-65 seniors will not have pension payments since they did not pay premiums for the required 25 years. 

China: Number of Pensioners and Insurance-holders Exceed 200 Million (January 22, 2008)
(Article in Chinese)
According to the Chinese Ministry of Labor and Social Security, by the end of 2007, China had more than 200 million pensioners and over 220 million social insurance holders. Also, China basically completed its three-year pension adjustment objectives. Average pensions increased, reaching monthly payments of 963 Yuan per person.

China: Ministry of Labor and Social Security: Pension and Insurance Scheme To Be Reformed (January 21, 2008)
(Article in Chinese)
On January 21, the Chinese Ministry of Labor and Social Security conducted a press conference to discuss the achievements in 2007 and to introduce the plan for 2008. In 2008, the Ministry will focus on several items, namely pension scheme reform, rural pension policy, improvement of insurance coverage and health insurance for retirees and the poor. During the conference, the Ministry’s spokespersons also answered several questions on various topics. 

China: China Earmarks $2 Bln for Raising Retirement Pension This Year (January 16, 2008)
In contrast to the information contained in 'Lives of Poverty, Untouched by China’s Boom', the Chinese Ministry of Finance announced January 15, 2007 that the government had raised money (14.92) billion Yuan for the nation’s rural areas, to enable the retirees to have a pension. This news may be good for poor older persons in rural areas. Let’s just hope that the older people will receive this needed pension.

South Korea: Social Consensus Crucial for Pension Reform (January 9, 2008)
The South Korean government is about to reform its pension system. A new task force designated by the presidential transition team is currently preparing the legislation. It seems that they plan will combine the National Pension and the Basic Elderly Pension. However, according to the authors, this is a very delicate matter. They urge the Korean government to consult widely in the society about how to create and fund a pension that will serve older Koreans well, both now and in the future.

China: Beijing Pension to Increase by 200 Yuan/Person – The Largest Increase Ever (January 8, 2008)
(Article in Chinese)
This year, Beijing city will introduce comprehensive pension adjustments. According to the plan, pensions for 1.67 million retirees will increase by 200 Yuan per person. Those who have lower pensions compared to the average level will receive 20 to 35 Yuan more per month. Senior technical staff, over-65 elderly persons and those who took part in the Revolution will also enjoy preferable policies. This is the largest increase since the initiation of the pension system. 

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Europe and Central Asia

Reports | Articles


United Kingdom: Population Ageing: Crisis or Opportunity? (November 2008)
The authors of this paper discuss the economics of supporting an aging population in the United Kingdom and in particular how pensioners’ incomes might best be supported without significantly reducing the income and capital of the remainder of the population. The increase in life expectancy, changes in family formation and dissolution, projected changes in mortality, fertility and migration, and the crucial United Kingdom housing market are all critical elements of the discussion.

United Kingdom: Employer Attitudes to Risk Sharing in Pension Schemes: A Qualitative Study (August 2008)
As part of the British governments efforts to make the private pension sector simpler and less burdensome for employers and employees alike, the Department of Work and Pensions is looking at increasing risk sharing in Defined Benefit pension schemes. This study looks at employer perceptions of DB pension schemes with increased risk sharing and finds that they are turned off by the increased complexity of the plans and are unwilling to switch. It also looks at employers with Defined Contribution schemes and finds they too are skeptical of the proposed new plan.

United Kingdom: Information Needs at Retirement: Qualitative Research Focusing on Annuitisation Decisions (2008)
Do ordinary people understand how annuities work? What does a “defined contribution” mean? This report explores policy-holders’ understanding of the choices available to them when they become eligible to convert their pension fund into income. Individual members’ benefits are determined by reference to contributions paid into a pension scheme in respect of that member, usually increased by an amount based on the investment return on those contributions. Consumers need to have high-quality information about their retirement payments and how to make sound choices about annuities. 

United Kingdom: Life Course Events and Later Life Employment (July 2008)
How do early life events affect the decision to remain in the workforce? People often exit the labor market between the ages 50 and 70 years old. Unfortunately, many employees are forced to retire or remain because of their circumstances. Using British Household Panel Survey data, Blekesaune and his partners studied how the family, education, health and pension influence the decision to leave work. Not surprisingly, those who have good health and greater education want to stay in the workforce. 

United Kingdom: The Scottish Widows UK Pension Report (June 2008)
This annual report provides an overview of the UK pension savings. The pension index and savings ratio reveal Britons' attitudes towards retirement savings and the discrepancies based on gender and age groups. Due to the credit crunch, many Britons aren't saving as much as they should. The authors also discuss the challenges Australia faces as it attempts to change its current pension system. Ideas on the table include how to integrate citizens' personal accounts into its current pension legislation. 

Latvia: Life of Pension Recipients according to Statisticians (May 18, 2008)
In Latvia the birthrate increased last year while the rate of pension disbursements decreased. Unfortunately, the Latvian pension is so insignificant that it does not cover pensioners’ daily needs, forcing them to seek paid jobs. One in five persons, aged 62-74 years old, and about one seventh of working pensioners, are self-employed. One in twenty pensioners work but get no salary. They volunteer to help their families, in the home or on farms. 

France: ‘Rendezvous 2008’ with Pensions (April 2008) 
After the presidential campaign Nicolas Sarkozy committed himself to balance the national pension fund in France, while maintaining the households’ purchasing power. The government will soon take measures to meet this ‘rendezvous 2008’ with pensions. Representatives predict an approach in four directions: to encourage workers to stay longer in the workforce, to mobilize for greater employment of older persons, to increase purchasing power of citizens and to plan for next steps in the post- 2020 period.

United Kingdom:  Life Expectancy Gap at State Pension Age Set to Narrow (January 2008)
This report focuses on life expectancy at the State Pension Age, showing that life expectancy between men and women is narrowing and may stabilize between 2021 and 2051. The study takes into consideration that the State Pension Age may go up to 68 years old by 2046. It also explains that life expectancy depends on individuals’ social backgrounds as men and women in the so-called ‘professional’ class live longer. Workers in other job categories face greater health risks and less income and die earlier. 


France: A Vast Majority of Employees are Opposed to an Extension of Retirement Age (December 8, 2008)
(Article in French)
A recent study shows that 79% of interrogated employees are against the measure recently approved by the government to allow employees to retire from the age of 70. The few differences observed across the population concern the youth and the wealthier part of the population that are slightly more in favor. The remaining 14% argue in favor of this extension out of a desire to stay active and to sustain in retirement the lifestyle they had while working.


United Kingdom: Pensions "Leap" Back Into Surplus with Record Turnaround (December 3, 2008)
The 200 biggest privately sponsored pension schemes in the United Kingdom wiped out accounting deficits in November with a £38 billion improvement in their funding position—the biggest monthly increase in history. As a result of the upswing, the schemes have "leapt back" to a surplus of £23 billion, according to figures from Aon Consulting. The company said the main factor behind the "dramatic" turnaround is falling projections for future inflation, which have declined from a record high of 4.2% in July to 2.6% last month. 


Ireland: New Approach to Pensions Sought (December 3, 2008)
Mary Habafin, Minister for Social and Family Affairs, recently stated that persons at retirement age who deferred the purchase of an annuity until the markets improved can rely on the state pension in the meantime. Paula Clancy, director of the independent think tank Tasc, commented that this statement "represents a tacit acknowledgment that the private pension system has failed, and that the social welfare pension is the only reliable component of our pension system. This acknowledgment should inform a new approach to pension provision, which should be State-led rather than market-led.”


Spain: Mothers of the “Baby Boomers” Now Live on 549 Euros a Month in Catalunya (November 30, 2008)
(Article in Spanish)
Older women of the “baby boomer” generation who once dedicated themselves to taking care of the home instead of having a job are suffering now because they do not receive pensions every month. Widows are suffering the most and some are even living in impoverished conditions. This past June, Congress approved a proposition that will increase pensions of widows, thus helping improve their living conditions. This generation will continue to live on for some time so there has to be a change now in order for them to live in dignity.


United Kingdom: Muslims to Be Offered Sharia-Compliant Pensions by Government (November 21, 2008)
When the Personal Accounts Delivery Authority is launched in the United Kingdom in 2012, as many as 10 million people who do not have a decent occupational pension will become automatically enrolled and required to save a minimum of 4% of their earnings a year, matched by a 3% contribution from their employer and 1% tax relief from the Government. The scheme is likely to include a special option that would not invest in companies considered sinful under Islam.

United Kingdom: ABI Calls for Immediate Automatic Pensions Enrolment (November 18, 2008)
In order to encourage people to save for retirement, the director general of the Association of British Insurers (ABI), Stephen Haddrill, has urged the United Kingdom government to immediately implement regulations that will allow automatic enrollment of employees into good workplace pension schemes now rather than in 2012. The ABI is also acting to boost confidence in pensions and savings by supporting the elimination of commissions for sales intermediaries, including agents or independent advisers.


United Kingdom: BT Cuts Final Salary Pension Link (November 11, 2008)
A company in the United Kingdom, British Telecom (BT), is proposing drastic changes to its pension scheme in order to control the rising cost of running the scheme and to reduce the deficit of six hundred million pounds. Circumstances driving up the long-term cost of the plan include people living longer in retirement and lower future investment returns. BT wants to cut the traditional link with final salaries, raise the retirement age to 65 and build up pension entitlement at a slower rate. 

France: Air France Pilots’ Strike on Pensions Should Be Massive (November 14, 2008)
(Article in French)
The strike against raising the retirement age may cancel every other flight on November 14, 2008. Air France’s CEO judges the strike ‘useless’ and ‘dangerous’ and estimates the potential costs in millions of euros. The amendment that would allow pilots to retire at the age of 65 instead of 60 was passed on November 1, 2008, but will be re-examined on November 17, 2008, as pilots complain they were not consulted before the decision was made.


Russia: Russian Government to Raise Pensions (November 13, 2008)
(Article in Russian)
Despite the deep financial crisis Russia currently faces, the government decided to raise pensions in 2009 by almost 37%. The base part of labor pensions will grow 8.7% starting March 1, 2009 and by another 26.15% beginning December 1, 2009. The increase will make the size of social pensions at least equal to the pensioners' minimum subsistence level – a highly anticipated goal set by the Russian government a long time ago. 


Bulgaria: Pension Insurers Switch Strategies as Assets Fall (November 4, 2008)
Bulgarian Pension Funds have been switching their investments from equities to short-term debt instruments and maintaining high liquidity in settlement accounts and short-term deposits during the last nine months. All funds have lowered their risk exposure and are only buying stocks with good fundamentals already present in their portfolios. Despite this conservative strategy, some schemes have still lost over 15% of their value.

France: The French Parliament Votes on the 2009 Health Insurance Budget and Discusses Pensions (November 4, 2008)

(Article in French)
The French Parliament has voted on the 2009 budget for health insurance. In an attempt to contain the 8.6 billion euros deficit, Parliament has passed a bill that authorizes employees to work until they are 70 years old on a voluntary basis, a bill rejected by the opposition and trade unions. The left alluded to the idea that the French president was trying to take advantage of the economic crisis to reduce workers’ rights. Denouncing the amendment, the Left Party also refused to vote for the budget.


France: French Parliament Votes To Allow Retirement At 70 (November 1, 2008) 
French workers may be allowed to continue working past the age of 65 under a measure approved by the lower house of parliament. The measure needs Senate approval to become law and has been criticized by the opposition as opening the way to pushing back the official retirement age. Like other industrialized countries, France faces growing pressure on its pension system and has been forced to increase the pension’s contribution period to 41 years despite strong opposition from unions.

Denmark: ATP Raises Pensions Despite Losses (October 31, 2008)

To demonstrate that not all pension funds have been decimated by the current financial crisis, the Danish pension fund giant ATP has confirmed its commitment to raise all current and future pensions by 2%, despite reporting a 1.4% loss on its investment return for the first nine months of 2008. ATP estimated the payment increase would be DKK5.9bn (US$1.03bn) for its more than 690,000 current and future pensioners.


Russia: Pension System as a Factory of Death (October 30, 2008)
(Article in Russian)
Recent studies show that the concept of aging has drastically changed around the world. “New” elderly are now 60 to 70 years old, full of life, willing to work and make useful contributions to society. How does this new concept of aging relate to older persons in Russia? Unfortunately, in Russia, retirement is still viewed by most people as a “certificate to isolation,” with no opportunities to stay socially active. Russia is in urgent need to change its negative image of aging. 


Romania: Pension Funds: We Have Money, Unlike the Banks (October 27, 2008)
The global economic crisis continues to cut pension funds around the world. However, the private pension funds in Romania are in a favorable position due to millions of euros entering the accounts of mandatory private pension funds monthly. Due to the crisis, companies may start considering borrowing money from the pension funds instead of taking out bank loans. “We really have money, unlike the banks,” says the private pension company official.


Poland: Retirement Worries Grow (October 27, 2008)
A major concern growing out of the global economic crisis is its effect on pension funds. Poland, for example, has lost around half of its Open Pension Funds since the beginning of the year. The toughest consequences of such dramatic losses will be experienced by people retiring soon, since there is no time for the funds to grow again in the near future. Women may suffer even more because they retire five years earlier than men and often have less money in their pension fund. 


United Kingdom: Women Get a Pension Boost (October 26, 2008)
Hundreds of thousands more women will win the right to receive a full state pension under a proposal announced by the United Kingdom government. Many women--such as those who gave up work to raise children--miss out on the full pension, now at £90.70 (about $145) per week, because they have not made enough contributions to the plan. The proposal will allow women to purchase double the number of “missed” contributions and thereby increase their chances of achieving the 30 years of contributions required to receive the full pension.


Romania: Romanian Pensions 'Remain Stable' (October 23, 2008)
The private pension regulator in Romania, the Comisia de Supraveghere a Sistemului de Pensii Private (CSSPP),  has claimed that the current financial crisis does not endanger the funding of the private pensions market. The private pension’s regulator said it had taken significant measures to preserve stability and confidence in the system. As evidence of this public confidence, Pillar II received voluntary contributions from an additional three million people at the end of September.


Ireland: Irish Pensioners Rebel over Plan to Cut Their Health Care (October 20, 2008)
Political turmoil erupted on a major scale in Ireland after the government announced an end to the system of free medical cards for over-70s, triggering anxiety among the elderly Irish population. Backbenchers in the Irish parliament say they have been inundated with calls from the public expressing anger and indignation at the measure affecting the elderly. One political leader described the move as a "cruel and heartless attack" on vulnerable older persons.


Russia: Interview with the Russian Minister of Health and Social Development Tatyana Golikova (October 14, 2008)
(Article in Russian)
In this comprehensive interview with Tatyana Golikova, Russian Minister of Health and Social Development, she answers pressing questions which currently worry Russian pensioners. How will the world's economic crisis affect pension payments? Will the pension be indexed according to inflation? What is the essence of health care reform in Russia? 


Netherlands: 'Pension Funds Must Not Take Hasty Action' (October 12, 2008)
The Dutch central bank has written to about 600 pension funds warning them not to act hastily in efforts to keep their funds balanced. With the dramatic fall in equities, half of the Netherlands’ pension funds are thought to have funding ratios under the recommended 105% level. ‘In the event of an actual shortfall, pension funds should not take any rash decisions but should draw up a thorough analysis of the fund’s situation and its management tools, culminating in a recovery plan,’ the bank said in a letter to fund directors.


United Kingdom: People 'Unaware' of Pension Risks (October 11, 2008)
The United Kingdom Pensions Advisory Service has warned that many people are contributing to a pension scheme without being fully aware of the investment profile and the associated risks of the pension fund. Pensions can be invested in a mixture of shares, property, cash and bonds, but more than 90% of people opt for the default fund, where 75%-100% of their investment is in shares. Each individual should decide the investment risk/return profile that suits her or his individual needs.


Russia: Social Pensions in Russia to Grow By Rbl 4, 176 by End of 2009 – Minister (October 8, 2008)
Russia pays a labor pension based on a worker’s payroll contributions, and a social pension paid to individuals who have worked for less than the five years needed to qualify for a labor pension. Both of these pensions are being substantially increased during the next two years, partially due to inflation, but mainly to raise the income of pensioners above the subsistence level. In the future, citizens who join the pension system after 2010 will have their retirement benefit amount to at least 40% of their current salary if they have a 30-year work record. 


United Kingdom: Elderly People Forced To Spend £1.6bn on Nursing Home Fees and Home Help (October 7, 2008)
Pensioners in the United Kingdom paid over 20% of the cost of nursing home care, home help and equipment provided by local authorities. Anyone with more than £22,500 ($40,000) in assets receives no state assistance for nursing home care and has to pay up to £700 ($1300) a week for accommodation and meals. This means that many ill and vulnerable people who have worked all their lives are forced to drain their savings, sell their homes or give away their planned inheritances just to fund basic living costs.


Russia: Putin's Pension Talk Scares Businesses (October 2, 2008)
One good outcome of the global financial crisis has been to force countries to look into ways of producing long-term capital domestically so that problems of liquidity are minimized when global markets squeeze credit. In Russia, one way to produce more domestic capital is to reform and improve the pension system. The average pension per month in Russia is 4,188 rubles ($163.60), expected to increase by 37% percent next year. 


Slovakia: Govt Lets Slovaks Exit Private Pensions Amid Crisis (October 1, 2008)
The Slovak government has approved a motion to allow citizens to exit private pension funds and return to the state-run scheme because it fears the global financial crisis will reduce future pensions. This is the second government intervention in the private pension system. Around 100,000 Slovaks out of 1.5 million pension fund clients cancelled their accounts when the cabinet let them do so in the first six months of 2008. Western-style pension funds were introduced by the previous administration, which had said savings in personal accounts were the only way to prevent a collapse of the state-run pay-as-you-go scheme due to the ageing population


Turkey: New Era Begins In Social Security System (September 30, 2008) 
Turkey has finally introduced a social security reform package that has been on the government's agenda for the last five years. The reform package focuses on two areas: it provides for general health insurance that covers the entire population and a set of provisions introducing stricter conditions and requirements for retirement. The retirement age will be gradually increased to 65 for both men and women by 2048.


United Kingdom: Playing a Dangerous Game with Our Pensions (September 30, 2008
In addition to investing in equities whose prices have declined significantly in the past year, many pension funds are involved in “credit default swaps.” These, in essence, allow financial institutions to lay bets on whether a particular company will go bust. The income from these bets has boosted the returns of the pension funds as long as the firms they were betting on did not go under. However, if more companies continue to default on their loans, older persons may find that their pension fund cannot support the pensions they expected. 


Russia: Russian Pensioners Live Beyond the Poverty Line (September 30, 2008)
(Article in Russian)
The number of pensioners in Russia has increased dramatically since 2000. However, the increase did not have any effect on their economic welfare. Many old people live below the poverty line, receiving on average about $200 per month. The gap in living age between women and men continues to increase as well. Now women live 13 years longer than men. Because of this, out of the 29 million seniors currently living in Russia, around 7 million live alone. 


Russia: Half of Russians are Unfamiliar with a New Pension Law (September 30, 2008)
(Article in Russian)
Starting October 1, a new law about co-financing pension savings takes effect in Russia. According to the law, those pensioners who enrolled in the program will have the government co-finance their retirement savings for a period of 10 years. However, the results of a national survey showed that only 13% of Russians are “well informed” about the new law. 


Greece: Rallies on Social Security System (September 29, 2008) 
Trade Unions in Greece reacted strongly to the news that 133 separate pension funds will be merged to a total of just 13. Employment Minister Fani Palli-Petralia stressed that significant savings would be made and that policyholders would benefit by the merger. However, trade unions decided to stage a series of rallies against the move by Ms. Petralia. The General Confederation of Greek Workers President Giannis Panagopoulos stated, “We will not stop fighting for the Social Security System."


United Kingdom: Call to Reform Pension Credit (September 25, 2008)
Research carried out for Age Concern showed that more than half of older people in the United Kingdom were cutting back on essentials such as heating and food in a bid to make ends meet. In the meantime, pensioner groups have found that nearly one-third of people who were eligible for the UK Pension Credit were not receiving it, with up to £2.8 billion going unclaimed. Age Concern said that if the benefit had been paid automatically, those missing out would be, on average, £1,477 ($2,500) a year better off.


Norway: More Bad News for Norway's Huge Pension Fund (September 24, 2008)
Just last year, Norway’s oil fund was being praised for its strategic and ethical investment moves. The fund, a sovereign wealth fund fueled by revenues from Norway's offshore oil reserves, is meant to finance pensions for future generations. Instead of spending the oil money, Norway has set aside most of the revenues to secure the future of the nation’s inhabitants. Unfortunately, the fund's stake in Lehman Brothers rose from 1.7 million shares to 17.5 million shares during the second quarter of this year, which is raising doubts about the management of the fund.


France: Pensions – What You Should Save (September 24, 2008)
(Article in French)
Pensions are on a steady decrease. Inflation will add to the difficulties of the generation of baby boomers. The pension plans offered by companies may also provide negligible benefits. The article recommends purchasing real estate and early pension contributions. Effective financial management, in this case, requires another solution: how to choose the best interest rates to compensate for inflation. 


United Kingdom: Lehman Brothers Reveal £100m Pensions Hole (September 23, 2008)
Lehman Brothers in Britain collapsed with a mammoth £100 million black hole in its staff pension fund. The deficit means that many former staff in Britain may not have their retirement promises met in full. The size of the shortfall surprised experts. John Ralfe, a pensions consultant, said: “One way or another, the members of Lehman’s UK pension scheme will lose out.”

France: Funding Pensions: How About a Referendum? (September 22, 2008)
(Article in French)
Very few French companies have implemented a vision or a long-term project concerning the employment of older workers. Most of the time, the latter are subject to the ups and downs of the economic situation. According to the journalist, this is a drawback for the whole of the active population: the income of those in employment and of those who have retired decrease alike. The solution would consist of organizing a referendum to expose these issues—that have a social as well as an economic dimension--to the public eye.

Finland: Finland Keeps its Retirees Active (22 September 2008)
(Article in French)
For 10 years, Finland has been trying to keep senior citizens in employment. Facing both the rapid aging of its population and a scarcity in human resources, some initiatives were necessary. Among these: the improvement of the quality of the work environment as well as that of the working conditions are a priority. Despite these multiple initiatives, success is far from complete: the country still has not managed to get unemployed older people back in employment.


United Kingdom: Teresa Hunter Tells Investors How To Salvage Their Battered Retirement Plans (September 21, 2008)
Although many consumers are withdrawing cash from their pensions, this may not be the best way to preserve their pension assets over the long term. Stock market volatility hits different kinds of savers in different ways depending on whether they have a final salary scheme, money purchase arrangements or personal pension savings. It is vital for future retirees to understand fully their pension scheme and to plan, save and even consider working a year or two longer.


United Kingdom: Union Anger over Two Per Cent Pensions Cap (September 20, 2008)
Due to the concerns about their ability to fund the company’s pension plan, Legal and General, a UK company, placed a 2% cap on future pay raises for the purposes of pension calculations. That means that if staff gets a 4% wage increase, only half of that will boost their pension. Deputy general secretary Graham Goddard says the union is considering a legal challenge and possible industrial action.


Netherlands: Credit Crisis Set to Hit Pensions (September 19, 2008)
Hundreds of thousands of pensioners in the Netherlands will feel the effects of the worldwide credit crisis next year as pension funds decide not to increase payouts in line with inflation. Falling share prices mean many funds may not have enough cash to increase payouts, the report says. Pension funds have increasingly moved their investments into shares in recent years. Trade Unions will be pressured to agree to wage moderation in order to keep inflation under control.


Ireland: Hanafin Warns Social Groups Economy Will Hit Budget (September 19, 2008)
The Minister for Social and Family Affairs, Mary Hanafin, has warned that economic conditions will have an impact on proposals from social advocacy groups. One of these groups, Age Action, has called on the Government to protect the most vulnerable of pensioners from the effects of rising food and fuel prices when formulating the Budget. "For pensioners struggling to survive on fixed incomes, and especially those living alone on low incomes, a 55 per cent rise in the price of home heating oil or 27 per cent in the price of milk pose a major challenge," said Age Action's head of advocacy and communications, Eamon Timmins.


France: Getting Active After Retirement (September 17, 2008) 
(Article in French)
The French government plans to change the laws regulating employment of retirees. Under the new regulations, retirees will be allowed to work as soon as they reach 65 or once they have contributed long enough to be entitled to a full pension. The 6 months notice that was necessary to take a job with the same employer will also be abolished. This heralds a complete liberalization of employment in retirement. The new regulations will come into force on January 1, 2009.


Romania: Romania PM Says Approves Pension Hike from October (September 16, 2008)
Due to good national economic performance, the Prime Minister of Romania, Calin Tariceanu, has increased state pensions one month earlier than expected. Romania decided to double pensions via two hikes in 2008 and 2009, and recently announced plans to speed up the implementation of the increases, starting some from November 2008 rather than January 2009. Average monthly pensions in Romania are just over 100 euros ($130), which even after doubling will still be well below pension levels in developed countries.

Netherlands: The Right To a Comfortable Retirement (September 12, 2008)

A 74-year-old widow from New York and a 55-year-old retired teacher from Kenya are both struggling to survive on the income from their respective pensions. After her husband died, the loss of his social security income required Lestra Vertucci of New York to return to work in order to maintain her modest lifestyle. In the case of Bilha Ndoko Azenga, of Kenya, her €70 (100 US $) per month pension is insufficient to support herself and her family. To make matters worse, Kenyan rules prevent teachers from working beyond the age of 55.


United Kingdom: IOPS Recognises the Importance of DC Pensions Internationally (September 11, 2008)
The International Organisation of Pension Supervisors (IOPS) has recognized the increasing importance of DC (defined contribution) pensions in a new series of working papers. The papers have been drafted by a number of members - including pension regulators from Italy, Chile and Hong Kong as well as the UK. The papers recognize that, for private pensions, there is a worldwide trend towards DC pensions and away from final salary pensions. However, the information and decision-making process required for DC pensions is significantly more complex.


Hungary: Half-Million Hungarians May Be Shut Out of Pension System, Paper Says (September 10, 2008)
While the current pension system totally covers the retired segment, around half a million Hungarians face being squeezed out of the pension system by 2030 because they will not have fulfilled the minimum working period for entitlement. At the same time, the ratio of pensioners to workers is expected to rise. Today there are four employed persons for one pensioner. The ratio is estimated to be two to one by 2050. The rising poverty of pensioners poses a serious threat to the whole of Hungarian society.


United Kingdom: Fighting for Decent Pensions (September 10, 2008)
The National Shop Stewards Network conference held a pension workshop that emphasized the need for trade union members and their leaders to resist continuous attempts to erode their pensions. The leaders of the workshop advocated militant union action as the best way to improve and retain pensions. Examples of unions who had successfully defended their pension rights were contrasted with those unions who had failed in this regard.

Russia: Moscow Government To Raise Pensions up to Two Minimum Wages in 2009 (September 9, 2008)
(Article in Russian)
By the end of 2009, the minimum pension in Moscow will be equal to two times the minimum wage, says the capital's government. In August 2007, the pension was raised by 15%. Next year the government plans to add another RUB 1,000 to minimum pensions. «This year Moscow pensions have already reached 1.5 of the minimum wage and we are not going to cut it,» said a government representative.


Finland: 10,000 Finns Will Reach Retirement Age in September (September 9, 2008)
A record number of Finns will become eligible for the Finnish state retirement pension this month. Like many European countries, Finland is at the start of the period when the number of retired persons in proportion to the working-age population will start to accelerate. The peak year for people becoming eligible foe the state pension will be 2011, when 84,000 Finns will reach the age of 63. The year before that, 63-year-olds and above will outnumber under-18’s – a sure sign of an aging country.


France: Space in Rennes: Fillon wants Pension Rise for Farmers (September 9, 2008)
(Article in French)
The Prime Minister inaugurated this morning the 22nd edition of Space, the Breeders’ Salon held in Rennes. There, he announced the creation of a minimum pension for all farmers who have contributed at least 17 years and a half, instead of the previous 22 and a half. Farmers’ widows will also be entitled to their husbands’ pensions. Around 350,000 farmers are expected to benefit from these measures that will come into effect between 2009 and 2011.


United Kingdom: Public Sector Staff ‘Should Lose Final Salary Pensions’ (September 5, 2008)
A recent survey in the UK re-emphasizes the growing disparity between the pension benefits of public sector and private sector workers. As 80% of private sector ‘final salary’ pension schemes are now closed, public sector workers are anticipating pensions that are more than double their private sector counterparts. The report suggests, that in the future, public sector workers pensions should be reduced to bring them closer to private sector pensions. It remains to be seen whether any government has the will to implement such a proposal. 


Romania: CNPAS and Citi Romania to Pay Romanians Pensions Abroad (September 5, 2008)
One of the conditions of Romania’s accession to the European Union on January 1, 2007 was an agreement to pay pensions to Romanian citizens who were living outside the country and were entitled to the benefits. Prior to joining the EU, Romania did not pay pension benefits to anyone living outside the country. Citibank Romania won the contract to set up the system that began trials in July. About 29,000 pensioners are expected to benefit from this change.


Netherlands: Anger at Plans for Extra Tax on Pensions (September 5, 2008)
The article reports on the reaction of pensioners associations to the announcement made by the Christian Democrat party. Christian Democrat party plans, which were leaked last week, will make those over 65 pay extra tax on pensions that they have saved up themselves above €18,000. The article also suggests that future plans could see the retirement age rise from 65 to 67.


France: Despite the Hand Given by the Government in 2008, Retirees Lose Purchasing Power (September 1, 2008)
(Article in French)
The government has enforced a 0.8% increase in pensions on September 1, 2008 to compensate for growing rates of inflation. However, this increase cannot prevent retirees’ purchasing power from eroding before the 2009 pension increase. Pensions will be raised again, but on April 1 instead of January 1, so that the government can align them with private pension plans. This does not affect the standard of living of retirees, which is said to be ‘comparable’ to that of working people. Asset revenue, higher rents and real estate prices–75% people aged 65 and above are property owners and the smaller size of retiree’s households are among the factors accounting for this erosion. Also, the cost of living in residential care homes is extremely high.


Poland: A Wave of Protestation against Pension Reform (August 30, 2008)
(Article in French)
On August 29, 2008, several thousands of people calmly assembled in Warsaw to demonstrate against pension reform. The participants who were gathered by Solidarity, the National Trade Union, demanded that the current pension system be upheld. Under the current system, certain categories of professionals may retire five years before the legal age: 55 for women, 60 for men. Over a million early retirements would be suppressed by the reform, which adds to disenchantment of pensioners caused by the decrease in retirement wages since the system was partly privatized in 1999.


United Kingdom: Carers UK Response to Work and Pensions Select Committee Report ‘Valuing and Supporting Carers’ (August 29, 2008)
The UK Government’s Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has the responsibility for the benefits paid to caregivers, most of whom assist elder people with daily living tasks. A committee of UK M.P.’s, appointed by the DWP, has recommended that significant improvements in benefits be awarded to care providers. This recommendation has been welcomed by “CarersUK,” an organization that campaigns for better recognition of the contribution care givers make to the welfare of older people and society as a whole. 


United Kingdom: Call for Pension Design Freedom (August 28, 2008)
The Association of Consulting Actuaries (ACA) and Watson Wyatt have called on the British Government to take action over risk sharing pension schemes. ACA wants separate legislative framework for new types of pension plans, such as ‘conditionally indexed’ defined benefit plans, where targeted pension increases are conditional on the funding level. Actuaries were prompted by accelerated closing of the existing defined benefit schemes. 


Ireland: Universities Set to Improve Pensions (August 27, 2008)
Dominic Coyle reports that the Irish government intends to take the assets of a large number of independently funded semi-state pension schemes into the exchequer. Irish universities may use this opportunity to improve the pension position of some staff. Any potential bill is still to be finalized before going to the cabinet.


United Kingdom: Millions Missing Out on Pension Benefits, Pensioner Groups Warn (August 27, 2008)
The United Kingdom government and pension groups have announced that millions of pensioners are missing out on cash benefits. Pensioners may believe that they are not entitled to cash benefits due to owning a house or having savings. Help the Aged, a UK older persons’ group, has estimated that around 5 billion pounds worth of benefits remain unclaimed each year. The government said that pensioners had up until October 6, 2008 to claim backdated payments for that year.


Russia: Budget with a Pension Flavor (August 25, 2008)
(Article in Russian)
Russian ministries approved a draft budget for the next three years. According to the draft, in 2009-201l pension expenses will be increased the most. Chief of the Ministry of Finance called the national 2009-2011 budget “a budget of economics diversification and creating economics of an innovative type.”


Latvia: Pension Referendum Will Help to Raise Society’s Awareness about Problems of the Elderly (August 19, 2008)
(Article in Russian)
Latvia plans to have a referendum on pension law amendments which may help to raise the minimum pension level. “The referendum is needed: it is one of the most democratic ways of raising our society’s awareness about the problems the elderly face,” says Solvia Aboltinia, chief of the “New Times” Party.


Russia: Pension Age will be Raised for the Older, Taxes – for the Young (August 18, 2008)
(Article in Russian)
Raising the pension age in Russia is unavoidable, says the Ministry of Finance in Russia, and suggests raising men’s pension age to 62.5 and women’s to 60 years starting in 2015. To finance the reform, an extra 3% in taxes will be deducted from people’s salaries. The government will have to approve this proposed policy. 


France: Buying Study Years Will Soon be a Possibility for People over 60 Years Old (August 13, 2008)
(Article in French)
The French Ministry of Labor announced in mid-August that it would increase from 60 to 65 years the age limit by which people can buy back their study years in order to increase their pension. This decision comes in response to a lawsuit by a 60-year-old man who could not buy back his study years and felt discriminated against. 


Russia: For the Benefit of the Rich (August 11, 2008)
(Article in Russian)
The writer of this article explains the work of the Ministry of Health and Social Development to “reform” the Russian pension system. The Ministry has cancelled the Unified Social Tax and increased the pensions for those who retired during the Soviet period. The amount of pensions for today's young will depend on their years of employment, insurance expenses and their personal savings. What are the advantages and disadvantages of the reform? The article gives a comprehensive overview of future changes.


Russia: No Elderly without Pensions (August 11, 2008)
(Article in Russian)
Russia has organized medical help for the victims of the armed conflict in South Osettia and care for Russian pensioners living in the area, says the Ministry of Health and Social Development. Russia is giving medical and food supplies. In addition, the Pension Fund has increased the control over the pension payments to the Russian pensioners living in South Osettia. 


Russia: A Retired Life (August 6, 2008)
Russia's pensions are no longer regulated by the state budget. Moreover, there is a dramatic upsurge in the amount of state pensions being transferred into private companies in 2008. Nevertheless, the pensions remain “intolerably low” and the old way of solving the problem by “just begging for more money from the state budget wouldn’t work now,” says President Medvedev. So, will future generations of Russians continue to see retirement as a dramatic decline in their living standards?


Belarus: Labor Pensions Increase in Belarus (August 6, 2008)
(Article in Russian)
Global Action on Aging continues to follow changes in the level of pensions that older persons receive in countries of the world. This time, we note that labor pensions in Belarus are set to increase by 11.2% on average in August. The President of Belarus signed the relevant decree on August 4.


Europe: Europe Tries to Handle Political Fall Out of Pension Cuts (August 6, 2008)
Faced with larger pension expenditures, European governments are trying to implement cost cutting measures. However, many workers and pensioners find their current pension insufficient and oppose the reforms. In Belgium alone, it is estimated that 40% of retirees live in poverty. The clash between pensioners and the government over this issue has resulted to massive demonstrations and strikes. Is there a human right for income security in old age? At what level? Are the richest in the countries paying their “fair share?” Will inter-generational strife break out? Many Europeans are dealing with these issues now.


United Kingdom: 100 Years After Reform, Poverty in Old Age is Rife (July 31, 2008)
A hundred years have elapsed since David Lloyd George and his colleagues instituted pension payments, believing that they would end poverty in old age. Today, a century later, one-fifth of people over the age of 65 in the UK still struggle to make ends meet. Rising energy and food prices have been blamed. Rita Young, 73, lives outside Peterborough and considers a bar of chocolate a luxury. “Things are better than a hundred years ago…But it is a disgrace that we have got to go and beg for the pension credit to bring us up to a level still below the poverty line,” she said. 


Estonia: Will Estonia Raise Pension Age? (July 14, 2008)
(Article in Russian)

The population in Estonia is aging fast. There are only 1.7 persons of working age per pensioner in the country. Is Estonia ready to increase the age when a person can qualify for a pension? Economists fear this may not solve the problem of labor shortages. The Estonian government is also planning on changing its pension system.

Russia: Will Women Retire at 60 in Russia? (July 3, 2008)
(Article in Russian)
According to a report prepared by the World Bank’s chief economist, Russia's population will decrease by 10% by 2025. Demographic projections suggest that by 2025 the average Slovene will be 47 years old, giving the country one of the oldest populations in the world. One of the World Bank's suggestions for dealing with the issue is to increase women's pension age from 55 to 60 and equalize it with that of men. Is Russia ready for such a change?

Russia: Pensions in Russia Increased by 31% in a Year (July 3, 2008)
(Article in Russian)
Russia's pensions increased by 31% in a year, says the Federal Agency of Federal Statistics. By May 2008 pensions reached the level of RUB 4,004 constituting 23.7% of the country's minimum wage. According to the government's plan, pensions will almost double by the year 2011. 

Moldova: Pensions in Moldova and Pensions in Europe (June 24, 2008)
(Article in Russian)
Could you survive on a pension in Moldova? The author provides bitter facts, comparing pension levels in Moldova with those in Germany, Great Britain, Sweden and some other European states. Pensioners in Moldova get around $68 per month and a yearly pension indexation does not seem to make any difference due to high rates of price increases. 

France: Miners Pension Fund Sells its Building (June 11, 2008)
(Article in French)
The Miners Pension Fund has faced a large deficit since the 90’s when many mines closed, leaving about 200,000 retired miners and their beneficiaries (especially miners’ widows). Fund managers invested in real estate after World War II. In December 2006, they said they were going to sell their buildings to make up the deficit. This article focuses on the conditions of the sale. 

France: Seniors: Accumulated Money to Postpone Retirement Age (June 4, 2008)
(Article in French)
The employment rate of seniors over 55 years old is very low in France. To correct this situation, Laurent Wauquiez, French Labor Secretary, presented the new government’s plan. Three steps should be taken : first, economic sanctions for employers who do not employ seniors ; then, liberalizing the rules allowing seniors to accumulate pension money; and, finally, increasing the rate of senior pensions, meaning that the longer you work, the higher pension rate you have when you retire. 

Czech Republic: Government Ups Pensions by 470 Crowns a Month (June 3, 2008)
The Czech Republic government has increased all types of pensions by 5.1 percent. The pension will reach 9616 crowns in August 2008. The increase was possible under a new law enabling pension indexation if the inflation rate exceeds 5 percent. The opposition claims the increase is not sufficient and proposes a subsidy of 6,000 crowns to each pensioner. 

France: The Retirement System: Society’s Choice (May 30, 2008)
(Article in French)
France has a repartition pension system, which means that the younger generations pay for the older generations’ pensions. It is a social contract, a choice of society. But, since the 80’s, many in the French government want to pursue a neo-liberal approach, claiming that the social contract will ruin France. To the contrary, according to the authors, solutions exist to make the social contract carry on effectively. 

France: French Pension Strike Sparks Numbers Battle (May 22, 2008)
French people are demonstrating throughout the country, especially in Paris and Marseille, to protest the government pension reform. The government wants French workers to work longer and contribute more to their pension plans. However, older workers have a very hard time finding a job or keeping their jobs in companies after they reach 55 years old. Shouldn’t the government first encourage senior workers before taking such measures? And clear away the roadblocks of age discrimination?

Russia: Real Incomes of War Veterans, Pensioners Must Be Raised – Putin (May 26, 2008)
Russia's Prime Minister Putin emphasized the need to raise incomes of WW II war veterans and pensioners and improve the quality of home care and conditions of medical treatment for veterans and disabled people. In addition, the government promised to increase pensions by 15 percent and implement a number of projects to provide veterans with apartments, cars and one-time cash compensation this year. 

France: Pension, Unemployment, Employment; What You Should Expect. More Seniors at Work (May 19, 2008)
(Article in French)
The French government is encouraging seniors to stay in the labor market, or, if they already retired, to re-enter the job market. To that end, the government is enacting the following measures, as summarized by Notre Temps magazine. First, the government will reverse the law banning elderly people from working. . Second, the government will offer financial incentive to seniors who continue working. Lastly, the government will tax companies that don’t hire a “sufficient” number of seniors. 

Russia: Russians See Benefits of Private Pensions (May 14, 2008)
Russian retirees are transferring their personal savings from state-owned pension companies to private fund managers. Previously, Russians have been wary of investing in private companies after a number of defaults in the 90’s. The situation is rapidly changing, since in 2008 the number of people investing in commercial pension funds has tripled compared to last year. 

Russia: State Pensions in Russia to Grow 20% Annually in 2009-2011 (May 14, 2008)
The average Russian pension is expected to reach $179 per month in 2008 and grow 20% annually over the next three years. However, many retirees continue to struggle to afford basic goods due to the high inflation in 2008. 

Malta: Government to Continue Pension Reform – Dalli (May 13, 2008)
Social Policy Minister John Dalli said representatives of Malta will continue to work on the pension reform plan begun two years ago. They plan to raise the retirement age and to introduce new pension funds. Mr Dalli pointed out that the challenge of aging was not only a pension issue but also one involving services, care and a suitable environment for elders. 

Netherlands: More Willing to Work up to Pension Age (May 6, 2008)
The Netherlands Social Affairs Minister claimed in a new study that workers in his country understood they had to work longer. Indeed, the study showed that in 2005, only one out of five people was ready to work until age 65. It is one out of three today. Forty-four percent of people who are under 20 years of age said they want to work until 65. In the Netherlands, as in most European countries, the government is offering financial compensation as incentives for workers to continue to work and contribute to the pension fund. 

France: Nicolas Sarkozy Announced a Raise of 0.8% Pension Rate (May 6, 2008)
(Article in French)
Nicolas Sarkozy said he was aware of the consumer price increases and the drop in French retired persons’ purchasing power. That is why he announced a general increase in pension rates for September 1. He added that this is a ‘social justice’ issue. Consumer prices in France rose by 3.2% during the last twelve months. 

France: Francois Fillon and Xavier Bertrand are Inflexible About the Pension Issue (May 5, 2008)
(Article in French)
François Fillon, French prime minister, announced May 5 that the government is going to make French people work and contribute to the pension funds longer, according to a plan of action decided in 2003. Xavier Bertrand, the labor minister, declared that it was “the only solution.” Trade unions blame the government for doing a last-minute fix. 

Russia: No Pension Reform (April 28, 2008)
(Article in Russian)
“We cannot launch another reform like in 2002, but we should essentially correct our pension system,” said Finance Minister Alexey Kudrin. So, the promised government changes will not be radical but rather involve minor corrections to the existing system. The main goal of the changes is “to ensure pension growth and better quality of pension service to citizens,“ assured Kudrin. 

Russia: Ministry of Health and Social Development Plans to Eliminate Poverty among Pensioners (April 25, 2008)
(Article in Russian)
The Ministry of Health and Social Development plans to increase pensions and eliminate poverty among pensioners. Starting October 1, 2008, citizens will be able to start depositing their volunteer pension savings to the Pension Fund. This and other government planned measures will hopefully allow a gradual pension increase over the next few years.

Russia: The Biggest Pensioners' Revolt in Chelyabinsk (April 24, 2008)
(Article in Russian)
Hundreds of pensioners took to the streets of Chelyabinsk to protest against “monetization” of their entitlements – the law replacing their in-kind benefits with cash payments. Observers called it one of the largest social protests in the region with 1,200 pensioners blocking city traffic and the entrance to the regional Senate. 

Russia: Russian Pensioners Protest against Low Pensions (April 23, 2008)
(Article in Russian)
Hundreds of pensioners are marching through Russian cities protesting against their low pensions. The majority of Russian pensioners continue to live below the poverty line. Protesting pensioners are demanding that the government improve their miserable living standards. This countrywide protest is the first of three planned by the Independent Unions' Federation for this spring. 

France: Pensions: The Unemployment Fund Can Mend the Hole (April 22, 2008)
(Article in French)
The UNEDIC (the National Inter-Professional Union for industrial and trade workers) holds the French Government’s insurance fund account for unemployed workers. In 2007 the account had a surplus, amounting to about 3.5 billions euros. The Government wants to use the funds to pay off the deficit in social security accounts. However, the French trade unions would prefer that the government redistribute the benefits to protect jobless persons and other vulnerable workers better.

Greece: ‘Special Regimes’ Have Been Removed (April 16, 2008)
(Article in French)
Despite three general strikes that paralyzed the country affecting millions of people, the Greek Parliament voted in favor of a law that will remove pension ‘special regimes’ and make the period for worker contributions longer. We are reminded that Greece is one European country where the percentage of the aging population is among the highest.

Germany: Employers Protest Increases in the German Pension (April 8,2008)
Germany's cabinet supported a plan to raise state pensions by 1.1% this year and by as much as 2% in 2009. Employers reacted in anger, saying the decision will cost jobs. The pension rise translates to 2.5 billion more euros by 2011. Some say that the federal budget cannot handle the increase. Germany has one of the lowest birth rates in the world. The population will fall from currently 82.5 million to 69 million by 2050. 

Czech Republic: Pension Fund Yields in 2007 Lowest in Memory (April 4, 2008)
In 2007, the Czech Republic recorded the lowest yield in its pension fund in history. The international financial crisis, as well as the poor results of the Czech economy, makes economists contemplate a yield of around zero at the end of 2008. Still, experts are advising workers to invest their pension money into these long-term funds. The law forbids pension funds from posting losses, requiring parent banks to cover them. 

Latvia: Pension Increase in April (April 4, 2008)
(Article in Russian)
Some 490,000 retired Latvians will get a pension increase in April this year. “Latvian pensioners deserve decent treatment as they age so our main goal is to gradually raise retirees’ level of living,” says the Minister of Welfare Iveta Purne. 

Russia: Monetization of Transport Benefits Negatively Effects Pensioners in Chelyabinsk (April 4, 2008)
(Article in Russian)
The government of Chelyabinsk region plans to replace pensioners' in-kind transportation benefits with cash payments. However, the change may negatively affect pensioners in the region who are frequent users of public transportation. During the summer, seniors regularly ride trains and buses to get to their garden plots located outside of the cities. 

Ireland: Irish Pensions Lose €10bn in Value (April 3, 2008)
The Irish Pension Fund Market dropped dramatically by 3.6% according to the agency Hewitt Associates. It is a total drop of 11.4% for the first quarter of 2008. The month of March was bad for the economy in general, with the rise in oil and the recession in the US housing market. 

Bosnia: Bosnia ‘Greedy’ Pension Plan Slammed (April 2, 2008) 
A number of NGO’s are accusing Bosnian government representatives of being ‘greedy.’ On March 27, deputies of the Parliament signed a proposal raising pensions and lowering retirement ages for the legislators. It happened at the same time as studies from the Center Civil Initiatives showed that few of Bosnia’s state and government institutions have fulfilled their action plans for 2007.

Russia: Ministry of Health and Social Development Plans to Eliminate Poverty among Pensioners (April, 2008)
(Article in Russian)
The Ministry of Health and Social Development plans to increase pensions and eliminate poverty among pensioners. Starting October 1, 2008, citizens will be able to start depositing their volunteer pension savings to the Pension Fund. This and other government planned measures will hopefully allow a gradual pension increase over the next few years. 

Romania: Romania May Speed up Pension Hikes (March 31, 2008)
The Romanian administration is considering raising or even doubling state pensions until 2009. Economists are afraid of the economic consequences. Such a measure would trigger a huge increase in internal demand too quickly, bringing on inflation. Many accuse the government of “crowd pleasing.”

United Kingdom: Are Older People Risking Their Futures? (March 28, 2008)
Help the Aged reveals the facts about how elderly fall into the trap of getting easy credit and don't have enough money to pay it back. This trend may represent a debt crisis for persons entering retirement age. As a result, Help the Aged has called for the government to track pension poverty. 

France: Pensions: Trade Unions and the Government are Negotiating (March 26, 2008)
(Article in French)
The second negotiation period between the French trade unions and the government is about to begin. Raising the retirement age seems problematic. Pensioners would have to work 41 years instead of the 40 years required today. Unions have denounced this measure as ‘unfair,’ especially for workers who have harsh working conditions. They have already called for a strike to protest such a measure.

Russia: Pensions to be Delivered to Seniors' Homes in Chechnya (March 20, 2008)
(Article in Russian)
Chechen Republic's government created a service to deliver pensions to pensioners' homes. Previously, the government received a large number of complaints from seniors about poor service at the pension centers. The new delivery service is successfully functioning in 16 regions in Chechnya. 

Russia: Russian Pension Fund Accused of Embezzlement (March 20, 2008)
(Article in Russian)
Managers of Russia's pension fund are involved in a corruption scandal. The fund's former top-managers are accused of embezzling 43.5 million rubles from the pension budgets. The managers drew down extra – budgetary funds aimed for social development and construction to buy elite real estate in Moscow. 

Russia: Moscow Region Increases Pensions up to Minimum Wage Level (March 20, 2008)
(Article in Russian)
The Moscow Region government increased pensions up to 3,254 rubles per month, reaching the region's minimum wage level. Some 500,000 senior citizens will receive a bonus starting March 1, 2008. It is estimated that more than 4 billion rubles will be invested for this important increase in benefits. 

Russia: Life Expectancy Increases in Stavropol Region (March 18, 2008)
(Article in Russian). 
Life expectancy continues to increase in Stavropol region, Russia. More than 4,500 invalids and senior citizens live up to 72 years of age while the average life expectancy in Russia has dropped to the low of 65 years. Why is Stavropol better off? The Stavropol government has increased funding for senior citizens and provides additional medical services for them. Congratulations, Savropol!

Russia: Electronic Document Control System for Pension Payments (March 15, 2008)

(Article in Russian)
An electronic system for pension payments proved to be successful during the testing process. It will now be gradually implemented in the Samar region of Russia. A new system will provide pensioners with all data regarding their pension payments and other transactions.

Germany: Berlin to Raise State Pensions (March 15, 2008)
The German government plans to raise pension payments by 1.1% in July for 20 million pensioners. It will help older persons who have been endangered by price increases and inflation since the beginning of the year. Reserves accumulated in state pension funds will finance these increases. The government said the consequences on the budget will be small. 

Russia: Pension Fund Invests 19 million Rubles for Pensioners (March 13, 2008)
(Article in Russian)
An additional 19 million rubles will be invested for war veterans and low-income pensioners living in the Sverdlovsk region. The investment will help pay for seniors' basic necessities, including medicine and food. The money will also help the elderly to improve their general health and receive dental care. 

Russia: President Putin Calls for Pension System Reforms (March 11, 2008)
(Article in Russian)
President Vladimir Putin has called for urgent pension system reforms. The President suggested the introduction of subsidies to complement pension savings and adoption of the law on co-financing voluntary pension savings. The system changes are to be made as soon as this year, noted the President. 

United Kingdom: Workers Win Pension Compensation (March 11, 2008)
The United Kingdom adopted a new law to compensate workers who have lost at least half of their savings when their companies closed out pension schemes but remained in business, affecting 10,000 people. Union workers warily welcomed the bill that enables people who lost funds to be compensated. This is indeed a good initiative, preventing companies from defaulting on their promise to provide pensions to their workers.

Greece: Greece Hit by Strikes, Power Cuts over Pension Bill (March 11, 2008)
National electrical utility unions as well as garbage collector employees decided to extend their strike in Greece. They are protesting a government pension reform bill that increases the retirement age and reduces benefits, especially for women and working mothers. On the other hand, the government defends the changes, explaining that the current system is unsustainable and the social security system will collapse in 15 years without changes. A compromise must be found to reach the goal of sustainability without weakening the security of older persons.

Czech Republic: Government Approves Amendment to Pension Law (March 11, 2008)
The Czech government agreed on March 9, 2008, to make pension indexation conditions more flexible to compensate for inflation in the country. Prices rise annually by 7.5% in the Czech Republic. The measure will allow pensions to rise as well. The Parliament and President still have to agree for the law to become effective. If accepted, it would be affect more than 2.7 million people.

France: ‘Live and not Survive’ with Pensions (March 6, 2008)
French retired persons demonstrated in their capital city, Paris, to protest against the poor level of their pensions. Surrounded by the biggest retiree trade unions, and helped by slogans like ‘pensions to live and not survive,’ they demanded a revaluation of their pensions. Some demonstrators have to cope with living on a monthly 800 euros pension and cannot afford health care, even for serious conditions. 

France: The French Worry about their Pension (February 26, 2008)
(Article in French)
A new study by the polling institutes TNS Sofres-Fidelity shows that European people worry about their pensions. French people worry the most, whereas inhabitants from Northern Europe are less preoccupied. Europeans think, on average, that people should take care of their pension savings by the age of 28. Sixty-five percent of French people feel they should get more information about pension savings and retirement from the government. 

North Ossetia Increases Expenses for Social Programs for Elderly (February 26, 2008)
(Article in Russian)
North Ossetia, Alania, a republic of Russia in the Caucasias, plans to increase the budget for social projects and spend RUB 1,697 billion for their implementation in 2008. Studies show that the population is aging fast, and half of the senior citizens are 70 years and older. The republic implements a number of social projects for invalids and war veterans as well as politically repressed seniors.

Belgium: Belgians Want to Retire at 62 (February 18, 2008)
(Article in French)
A new study from the General Statistics and Economics Information Direction in Belgium shows that the “planned age of retirement” and the “real age of retirement” are two completely different notions. The planned age of retirement is the age of a worker who considers stopping working. The real age arrives when a retired person receives his or her first pension. This interesting article clarifies some of the categories and stereotypes around retirement age. 

Russia: Ryazan Region Develops a System of Social Services for Pensioners (February 16, 2008)
(Article in Russian)
The local Government of the Ryazan regions supports its pensioners in several ways. Six thousand elderly people receive monthly bonuses to their pensions. Last year, 37 million rubles were allocated from the region's budget for Great Patriotic War veterans' needs. This year the region plans to develop and finalize a plan for improving the social service system for pensioners up until the year 2015. 

Russia: Pension Reform (January 29, 2008)

(Article in Russian)
The Russian Ministry of Health and Social Development plans to “re-style” the pension system. Vice-Premier Dmitry Medvedev said that the government is “targeting for changing the system” towards its simplified and transparent version. Last week Vladimir Putin also announced a pension increase in 2008. The question is, “How does the government plan to implement these pension reforms?”

Russia: Russia Launches an Experiment to Automate Pension Payments (January 22, 2008)
(Article in Russian) 
Ten regions in Russia launched an experiment to automate the pension payment system, which should help to eliminate corruption and make the process of making payments faster. The electronic control system will also decrease the time required to process and allow pensioners to receive payments quickly and without hassles. 

Russia: Pensions Increase by 12% in February 2008 (January 21, 2008)
(Article in Russian)
Insured pensions in Russia increase by 12% starting February 1, 2008. The Russian government estimates it will allow pension increases for more than 26 million people. The Pension Fund will allocate RUB 89,61 million from the federal budget for increases in 2008. 

Russia: Pensioners in Sochi to Receive a Monthly Bonus of RUB500 (January 18, 2008)
(Article in Russian)
All pensioners in Sochi will receive RUB500 as a monthly bonus. The Sochi government estimates that a total of RUB600 million will be spent on bonus payments in 2008. One hundred thousand pensioners will start receiving bonuses from January 1, 2008. 

Russia: Putin: “We Have to Put an End to Poverty among Pensioners” (January 16, 2008)
(Article in Russian)
Vladimir Putin called on the Government “to put an end to poverty among pensioners” during his meeting with Parliament members. The President noted that it was necessary to raise the pension compensation rate in Russia. Putin also criticized the Government for high rates of inflation in 2007 which led to significant price increases in the country. What will happen now?

Norway: Norway's Pension Fund May Ban Sex Industry, Tobacco, Gambling (January 16, 2008)
The Norwegian pension fund may forbid gambling, sex and tobacco companies from its investment portfolio. A ban already exists for firms accused of violating human rights or being ecologically unfriendly. Minister Kristin Halvorsen also said a more generous fund could be opened for companies that invest in renewable-energy companies. Norway has the largest pension plan in all Europe.

France: Publication of the General ‘Special Regimes’ in the French Official Gazette (January 16, 2008)
(Article in French)

The proposed ‘special regimes’ reform of RATP and SNCF, two French rail companies, has fallen off the government agenda. Decrees came out in the ‘Journal Officiel,’ (the official gazette of the French Republic) on January 15th. The Decrees announced the increase in the retirement age for the railroad workers, from 37.5 years old to 40 years old by 2012. The announcement of this measure brought about strikes in public transportation throughout October and November 2007. But the government won this battle and the retirement age has been extended. 

Greece: Greek Workers to Strike Feb 13 Over Pension Reforms (January 15, 2008)
Greek workers from the private sectors will go out on strike on February 13. They are protesting against the government’s pension changes. These changes will raise the retirement age in a certain number of professions that have been considered as ‘dangerous or unhealthy, ’ such as shipyard workers, builders or hairdressers. Greece currently faces a very low birth rate and a dramatically increase in the elder population. 

Nagorniy Karabakh: Government Increases Social Payments by 57% in 2008 (January 10, 2008)
(Article in Russian)
Nagorniy Karabakh enjoyed an economically successful year in 2007 which will allow the regional government to increase the expenses in the social sector by 57% in 2008. The government also plans to improve the pension system as well by developing a foundation for demographic policies in the region. 

Kirgizia: President of Kirgizia: “If the Pension Age Does not Rise Now, We Will Become a Nation of Pensioners” (January 10, 2008)
(Article in Russian)
President of Kirgizia Kurmanbek Bakiev has proposed increasing the pension age which is now equivalent to 60 years old for men and 55 for women. Mr. Bakiev believes that both men and women are quite able to continue working at this age. He also noted that the current pension age might be retained for people living in the regions with severe climate conditions. 

Russia: Krasnoyarsk Region Pays Monthly Bonuses for Pensioners to Buy Public Transport Passes (January 10, 2008)
(Article in Russian)
Pensioners in the Kransoyarsk region will receive RUB100 on a monthly basis to help them purchase passes for public transportation.. However, pensioners are free to spend the bonus payment on their own personal needs. It is estimated that 756,000 pensioners reside in Krasnoyarsk region now and all of them will start receiving compensation in January, 2008. 

Russia: Yekaterinburg Will Continue to Pay Social Benefits in 2008 (January 10, 2008)
(Article in Russian)
Pensioners of Yekaterinburg will continue to receive RUB 2,000 in social benefits as well as RUB 1,200 as compensation for housing repair works. Only those having 35 years in previous work experience will be eligible for payments. 

Russia: Pensions in Moscow Increase Twice (January 3, 2008)
(Article in Russian)
Pensions in Moscow will be increased twice in 2008, says the Major Yuri Luzhkov. The Moscow government is allocating RUB 20,1 billion for the increase. Pensions will go up to RUB 5,310 by February 1, 2008, and a second increase is scheduled for December, 2008, when the pension level will reach RUB 6,54.

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Middle East
& North Africa


Israel: As Economic Crisis Hits, Israel Moves to Shore Up Pension Funds (December 15, 2008) 
Israel offers to partially offset any further pension fund losses incurred by eligible workers after November 30, 2008. Among developed countries hit by the financial crisis, Israel is believed to be alone in offering such a direct bailout to retirement savers. However, the rescue may fall short of what the workers need. 

Israel: Herzog: Change the Pension System (November 30, 2008)
Isaac Herzog, minister of welfare and social services, heads the special ministerial committee that deals with pensions, and is proposing to reform the pension system in Israel. Herzog is leading efforts to increase the accountability of pension fund management. “I have nothing against private pension funds, but the regulatory framework in which they operate should be much stricter," said Herzog. 


Bahrain: Council U-Turn over Pensions (October 27, 2008)
Plans to introduce a one-off seven per cent increase for pensioners to help them cope with Bahrain's rising living costs have been put on hold after a Shura Council U-turn. The decision to withdraw the initial go-ahead was taken after officials and pension experts warned it might harm the Pension Fund Authority, and many councilors who had previously supported the increase changed their position. 


Bahrain: Pensions Rise Urged By MP (October 26, 2008)
Bahrain Member of Parliament Jalal Fairooz is championing the cause to increase  pensions for private sector retirees. Fairooz said that while retired private sector workers have received the same pension for more than a decade, their counterparts in the government sector had received a 3% increase every year. The last time private sector retirees got a raise in their retirement salary was 13 years ago.


Egypt: Protecting the Old (October 22, 2008)
A group of activists announced last week that they would establish a union aimed at defending the rights of Egypt's eight million pensioners. Tagammu Chairman Rifaat El-Said stressed that the union, which anticipates around 250,000 members, will pursue a social rather than overtly political agenda. As worries about savings increase, some pensioners have demanded that their national insurance payments be returned so that they can decide how to invest the money themselves.


Egypt: A Plan to Expand the Delivery of Pensions for Older Persons at their Homes, Hospitals and Care Homes (September 17, 2008)
(Article in Arabic)
Ms. Sumhia Mahmoud Al-Shiekh, the President of the public treasury under the Ministry of Treasury, approved a plan to expand the delivery of pensions. According to statistics from July of last year, an estimated 1,600 persons in Cairo alone will benefit from this expansion.


United Arab Emirates: Pensions Play Key Role In Building Strong Economy (August 27, 2008)
Richard Dean analyzes why the Middle East lacks secure and effective pension plans compared to some other regions of the world. The author explains that in Middle Eastern countries new laws and economic planning are required in order to maintain people’s pensions and a healthy economy. Dean concludes by assessing the prospects for change. 


Middle East and North Africa: Urgent Pension Reforms Needed in the Middle East and North Africa, (August 23, 2008)
(Article in Arabic) 
People tend to associate pension problems with the increasing population of old persons. However, all countries in the Middle East share a relatively young population. Many researchers have realized that the pension problem is structural, not demographic. The reports prepared by the World Bank confirm the region’s need for pension reform. According to Robert Holzmann, Director of the World Bank's Social Protection Unit, “there's no single recipe for reform, countries can mix and match different elements of an effective pension system, based on their own needs." 


Iraq: Patience Iraqi People (July 12, 2008)
(Article in Arabic)
This article describes the “humiliating” experience Iraqi pensioners must endure to get their pension checks from the bank. The author, who tried to collect his pension check, was forced to sit in a hot overcrowded waiting room for hours. When he finally was able to receive his pension, he was given a single bill which was too large to spend easily in the market. He requested smaller bills and the worker charged him for it. This article shows the hardships and dysfunctions that older people face in an occupied, war-torn country. 


Israel: Freedom to Switch Pension Savings Tracks Starts in 2008 (June 23, 2008)
In July, local consumers will be able to transfer their pension funds more freely between various pension plans. This will permit consumers to choose their plans for maximum benefit although poor decisions could hurt their investments. This change may affect insurance companies, as the government expects consumers to transfer savings out of insurance and into better-paying alternatives.


Kuwait: Kipco in Talks to Launch ME Pension Firm (June 2, 2008)
Business representatives from the investment firm, Kuwait Projects Company (Kipco), said that they are talking with 10 European companies about setting up a Middle East pensions firm with assets up to $1 billion. Kipco wants to create pension plans for people in the Middle East, who often have no option besides relying on their families for financial support in their old age.


Egypt: Financial Advisers Hatch Retirement Plans (April 2008)
When it came to pensions, the issue was simple for Egyptians. Contribute to the national pension plan every month and collect checks when you hit retirement age. Nowadays it is much harder. Worried about the national pension fund’s long-term solvency, the government has permitted private alternatives to spring up all over Egypt. The American Chamber of Commerce that promotes privatization has suggested ways that Egyptians can invest in private plans, with both general advice and Egypt-specific points.


Egypt: Pension and Social Security Check the Same Day a Worker Reaches Retirement Age (May 31, 2008)
(Article in Arabic)
Dr. Yousef Boutros Ghali, Minister of Finance, issued a decision adjusting pension payment rules in order to allow workers to receive social security and pension payments the very day they reach retirement age.


Egypt: Minister of Solidarity Announces Lowering of Retirement Age (May 27, 2008)
(Article in Arabic)
Dr. Ali Al Masilhi, Minister of Social Solidarity, announced Sunday that the Ministry will introduce a bill into the Parliament’s upcoming session to lower the age to begin receiving social security from 60 to 58 years. 


Jordan: Minimum Pension Raised to 860 Dinar (May 25, 2008)
(Article in Arabic)
In response to high inflation, Fahd Rajan, general director of the Public Institution for Social Security, declared that he will raise the minimum pension limit from 690 dinars per month to 860. 


Bahrain: Row Over Women's Early retirement (May 13, 2008)
The Shura Council yesterday blocked a law to allow female civil servants to take their retirement at the age of 50 years old. The Council offered two arguments: First, this measure would discriminate against women because it suggests that women cannot work after they reach 50 years old and would deprive them of access to leadership positions. Second, the measure would be too costly.


Morocco: As Morocco Faces Ageing Population, Pension Funds get Renewed Attention (March 30, 2008)
The Government of Morocco is reforming the pension system. According to the Moroccan Interprofessional Pension Fund (CIMR), the pension system is unsustainable and will collapse in 2019 if nothing is done. The Minister of Finance and Economy said the government is considering consolidating the pension fund system, honoring its long-term commitments and creating a ‘harmonious and coherent system.’


Israel: 175 000 Pensioners Slip Below Poverty Line in Israel (March 23, 2008)
(Article in Russian)
There is a significant rise in poverty among pensioners in Israel. In 2007, almost 25% of senior citizens slipped below poverty line. The experts relate the income fall to the government's gradual reduction of pensions. The Bank of Israel estimates that the chance for an Israeli pensioner to live below poverty line is two times higher than for a pensioner in any other country. 

Oman: Oman Raises State Pension Payments by up to 35% (March 19, 2008)
Oman Representative’s ruler, Sultan Qaboos announced the Government will raise the State pension between 5 and 35% to compensate for pensioners‘s lack of resources, due to inflation. The raise will be effective this month. Unfortunately, no more details are now available. 

Morocco: Pension Reform is Necessary (March 13, 2008)
(Article in French)
Researchers say that some changes must be made in the Moroccan pension system. Several studies show that the current workers cannot support the growing number of retired persons. That is why scholars are looking for solutions to keep the commitments given to older persons. In this article, the authors reaffirm that receiving a pension is a human right and shouldn’t be seen as a burden but as an investment. 

Turkey: Turkey to End ‘Nightmarish’ Pensions for 48-Year-Olds (February 27, 2008)
A 1990 law in Turkey enables people to retire at the age of 48. However, the pension system in Turkey is overburdened and the government is trying to reform the law. With the country’s largest trade union, scholars from the government are writing a proposal that would lift the retirement age to 65 by 2048. 



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Report: World: Public and Private Pension Expenditure (2008)
This report comes from Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Factbox. It displays the public and private pension expenditures in various countries. Statistics are available from 1990 to 2005, regarding public pension expenditure and 2002 to 2008, regarding private pension expenditure, as a percentage of GDP. Check out your home country and identify the nations with the highest number of elders who are living in poverty. Any surprises?






World: Plan to Live on a Salary (December 6, 2008)
(Article in Spanish)
Many persons planning to retire in the near future do not have a plan for how they will live once they do not have a regular salary. Pensions are offered to those who qualify, but this may not be enough to provide for their needs. All retirees should be encouraged to create a monetary plan that is explicit about where their money is going. In this plan, older persons should write down all their expenses and refrain from buying things that are not budgeted.


World: Stock Market Crash a Threat to Pensions in Many Countries (October 29, 2008)
(Article in French)
In the United States, in the last few months, the pension funds of 51 million Americans have lost value. Many had invested in 401(k) plans, consisting of investments in the stock market and acting as a complement to other types of pensions. According to Thomas Phillippon, professor at NYU, the crisis reveals flaws inherent to the pension system. Chile and Argentina face similar difficulties because they opted for a similar pension system. In parts of Europe, especially in Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic where pension systems have recently been privatized, the system will not survive a major lengthy crisis because they were established only recently and have not accumulated enough money.


World: Pension Fund Performance (OECD Working Paper on Insurance and Private Pensions) (August 20, 2008)

This report provides an analysis of aggregate investment performance by country on a risk adjusted basis using relatively standard investment performance measures. The report also describes privately managed pension funds around the world and the regulatory environment they face. It compares pension funds across countries according to total assets under management and asset allocation, and briefly discusses certain issues surrounding the data reported by pension funds and regulators on investment returns.

Report: World: Population Aging and Economic Growth (April 2008)
The Harvard University-based authors of the World Bank’s Commission on Economic Growth looks at the impact of population aging on economic growth among persons 60 years old and over between 2000 and 2050. Because the study was written before the current global financial meltdown, it’s unclear whether the new reality would change the authors’ conclusions. In general, they predict that rich countries will give greater support to older generations, shifting the responsibility from families to states. The authors cross their fingers that families in poor countries can continue to cope with elder needs or pressure their governments for social pensions. Is crossing our fingers sufficient?

World: Ageways 70: Social Pensions (February 2008)
More than 70 countries across the world provide a social pension, including at least 50 low and middle income countries. Their experience shows that social pensions are affordable and feasible and that they contribute to economic growth. HelpAge International is calling for a universal social pension for all people over 60 years of age, arguing that a universal pension (paid to everyone over a certain age) is more effective at reaching the poorest people than a means-tested pension (paid only to older people living below a defined poverty level).


World: 2008 Global Pension Assets Study (January 2008)
This report from Watson Wyatt analyses 11 countries’ (Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Netherlands, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and United States) pension assets. It seems that pension assets have risen everywhere, from 1997 to 2007, but the fastest growing markets are in the US, UK, Japan and Canada. However pension funds markets are volatile and subject to change. This report explains how. 

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