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  #81  
Old 01-01-2016, 07:31 AM
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JAPAN
GOVERNANCE

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articl...nance-overhaul


Quote:
Japan’s public pension fund moved closer to completing a long-awaited governance revamp as the health ministry released a plan to install a mostly independent management committee to oversee its investments.
The $1.1 trillion Government Pension Investment Fund will establish a 10-person committee consisting of nine outsiders and GPIF’s president, the ministry said in a proposal Friday in Tokyo. The new body will be responsible for decision-making and supervising how the pension fund invests its assets, the health ministry said. The aim is to submit a bill to the ordinary session of Japan’s Diet, which usually starts in January.
The world’s biggest pension fund doubled its allocation to stocks and reduced debt in October 2014, following the advice of a panel handpicked by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on how to modernize the fund as Japan sought to exit 15 years of deflation. The other prong of the recommendations -- changing how GPIF is run by adding the equivalent of a board of directors and separating investment and oversight -- has taken longer to materialize.
.....
Much of GPIF’s authority currently resides with the president, Takahiro Mitani. The changes will introduce a more collegiate style of making decisions, as proposed in November 2013 by the panel picked by Abe.
GPIF posted its worst quarterly loss since at least 2008 in the three months ended September after a global stock rout eroded $64 billion of value from its investments.
http://www.wsj.com/articles/japan-pe...ard-1451035640

Quote:
Japan Pension Fund Considers Role for Outside Board
Welfare ministry proposal calls for 10-person committee with fund’s head and nine outside experts

TOKYO—Japan’s government would create a board of directors to oversee the country’s $1.1 trillion public pension reserve fund under a plan presented Friday.

The proposed changes are aimed at giving the Government Pension Investment Fund’s full-time investment managers more discretion over day-to-day decisions, while ensuring outside governance of the fund’s overall direction.

The welfare ministry presented the proposal Friday to a panel of outside experts. The proposal called for creation of a 10-person management committee composed of the fund’s full-time head and nine outside experts

The committee would sign off on broad investment matters, such as the portfolio balance, and decide on executive compensation. The fund’s chief investment officer wouldn't sit on the board but could voice his or her opinions at board meetings.

.....
The GPIF—the largest fund of its kind in the world—manages reserves for Japan’s universal pension system and private-sector employees, covering about 67 million people.

If passed, the changes would mark another step forward in the fund’s transformation under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration. It has already rebalanced its portfolio to cut back on Japanese government bonds and add stocks, and it has started using new strategies such as currency hedging.
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  #82  
Old 01-01-2016, 07:33 AM
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CANADA

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/01/...reaks-promise/

Quote:
Amid much fanfare, Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau made a promise on September 14 to boost the old age pensions of Canadians should his party win election on October 19. CBC reported: ” The Liberal plan includes a promise to restore the eligibility for old age security and guaranteed income supplement back to 65 [from the change to age 67 by the Harper Conservatives], a new seniors price index to make sure those benefits keep up with rising costs, a ten per cent boost to the guaranteed supplement for single low-income seniors, and a pledge not to cut pension income splitting for seniors.”

Trudeau made his announcement at a staged setting, surrounded by members of CARP (formerly named the Canadian Association of Retired Persons), an organization that has long campaigned for improvements to Canada’s public pension plans.[1]

In reality, the Liberal campaign promise was quite modest. It did not propose any increases to CPP benefit payments, the core of Canada’s three-tiered old age support system. In addition to CPP, Canada’s public pension plan includes the 65-and–older, universal Old Age Security payment and the 65-and-older Guaranteed Income Supplement.

The Liberals did not even propose reversing the punitive Harper measure, effective as of 2012, which raised the penalty for those opting to begin receiving CPP benefits as early as age 60.

Regardless, even the modest Liberal wish-list was placed on hold when provincial finance ministers met with their federal counterpart on December 21. The Star‘s Walkom reports, “They are not doing anything. They are not even bothering to make empty promises about doing anything. After hosting a federal-provincial meeting this week that dealt with the CPP, all Finance Minister Bill Morneau could provide was a promise to study the issue further and meet again.

“It was hardly an example of the federal leadership that Trudeau had promised during the election campaign.”

Yes, you read that right. Barely two months after winning election, and three months after promising to move heaven and earth to improve public pensions, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government have shelved this key election promise on social policy. Morneau said on December 21 that finance ministers will return to discussion of the CPP in six months time. Or maybe they won’t. Whatever.

CPP legislation already requires a three-year waiting period to implement any changes that are approved.

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  #83  
Old 01-01-2016, 07:34 AM
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IRELAND

http://connachttribune.ie/workers-ar...n-the-pension/

Quote:
A national survey, commissioned by the Irish Association of Pension Funds (IAPF) and conducted by IReach, sought to examine retirement planning in Ireland and whether people are being realistic as to their expectations for retirement age. It concluded that people simply avoid thinking about retirement for much of their working lives.

The IAPF survey found that almost 80% of adults in Ireland between the ages of 18 and 34 don’t know the level of the State Pension.

There are approximately 65,800 people in this age category in Galway which means that an estimated 52,700 don’t know what the State pension is.

The IAPF say that the results show a clear dearth of knowledge amongst not just the younger demographic, but amongst the Irish public in general when it comes to understanding how much the State pays out to people once they hit retirement age – with just four in ten Irish people over 18 selecting the correct amount of €230.

......
“While it’s relatively late in the day, those over 55 facing retirement appear to have greater awareness, with over 60% knowing how much they’ll receive from the State when they retire, but unfortunately pension statistics show that many will have left it too late.
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Old 01-15-2016, 04:58 PM
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UNITED KINGDOM

http://www.theguardian.com/money/201...anges-says-dwp

Quote:
Most people now in their teens, 20s and 30s will be worse off as a result of changes to the state pension system, while millions of older people will gain, according to the government’s own figures.

The data will fuel concern that millions of younger people are suffering from the effects of what has been dubbed “intergenerational unfairness”, partly caused by the government targeting money and resources at the older generation.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) issued the data to back up its assertion that the introduction of the new flat-rate state pension in April “will make millions of people better off” – but the figures also provide stark confirmation that younger people will be losers from the changes.


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The new state pension will replace what the DWP said was a “mindblowingly complicated” existing system. Those reaching state pension age on or after 6 April 2016 will get the new regular payment, which has been set at 155.65 a week.

In the first 15 years of the new system, around 75% of people who reach state pension age will enjoy a higher state pension than under the current system, said the DWP in a paper looking at the impact of the changes. “This means that by 2030, over 3 million men and over 3 million women will have benefited from a notionally higher state pension,” it added.

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  #85  
Old 01-15-2016, 04:59 PM
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GREECE

http://abcnews.go.com/International/...eform-36287332

Quote:
Several thousand lawyers, many wearing ties or high heels, marched to parliament Thursday to protest a planned overhaul of the pension system by the country's leftwing government.

Chanting "No retreat till we're vindicated," the lawyers came from associations around Greece that are calling on the government to scrap key provisions outlined in government proposals this month.

Pension reform in rapidly-aging Greece is a key demand being made by bailout lenders, who are studying the proposals and have argued that current levels of state funding for the retirement system are unsustainable.

In Brussels, Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos attended a meeting of eurozone finance ministers but said the proposed Greek reforms were unlikely to be discussed.

The pension reforms have drawn broad opposition from various professional groups, with farmers planning protests to start on Jan. 20, with possible highway blockades, starting in northern Greece.

The country's largest labor union, the GSEE, also called an emergency meeting for Friday to consider strikes.

"There's a financial crisis that has hit incomes. Add to that the high taxes and now the higher income contributions for pensions, and many businesses in our profession and other professions will not be able to survive," said Athens lawyer Panagiotos Vrettos, holding a protest banner with several other protesters outside parliament.

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  #86  
Old 01-18-2016, 04:39 PM
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GREECE

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-eu...-idUSKCN0UU0T8

Quote:
Greek workers marched through the streets of Athens on Saturday to protest against the leftist-led government's planned pension reform, which the country's international creditors have demanded as part of its third bailout.

About 3,000 public and private sector workers, pensioners and students rallied peacefully outside parliament. They held banners reading "You cannot bargain with social security" and chanted "Your hands off our pensions!"

"We will fight to protect our rights and force the government to withdraw this monstrous plan that it calls a reform," the secretary-general of the private sector union GSEE, Nikos Kioutsoukis, told Reuters.

Turnout in recent protests has been weak, mainly due to austerity fatigue and resignation after five years of belt-tightening and two bailouts that have shut businesses and pushed up unemployment but have not pulled Greece out of crisis.

On Feb. 4, labor unions will stage a 24-hour general strike against the planned reform, the third such walkout in three months. Turnout will indicate the level of resistance the government faces as it pushes through unpopular measures.

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  #87  
Old 01-19-2016, 11:06 AM
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UNITED KINGDOM
FLAT BENEFIT
WOMEN'S RETIREMENT AGE

http://www.theguardian.com/money/201...pot-cash-women

Quote:
In recent weeks the government has been coming under increasing pressure to announce some form of help for several hundred thousand women born in the early 1950s who, according to some commentators, are most affected by the speeding up of increases to the state pension age.

An increase in the state pension age (SPA) for women from 60 to 65, phased in between 2010 and 2020, was included in the Pensions Act 1995, but in 2011 the coalition government accelerated the changes, so that the SPA for women will increase to 65 by November 2018. The SPA for both men and women will then rise to 66 by autumn 2020. Some women affected by both increases say they will suffer a financial loss of as much as 30,000 as a result of having to wait longer for their state pension, and many have said they were not given proper notice of the changes.

The age changes are part of a wider package of measures, which includes new flat-rate state pension of up to 155.65 a week, to be introduced on 6 April 2016.

Earlier this month the Commons work and pensions select committee issued a report in which it said the government must make “urgent changes” to the information it provided about the new state pension, because retirement expectations among women were being “smashed”.

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Old 03-11-2016, 06:10 PM
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EUROPE
DEMOGRAPHICS

http://www.wsj.com/articles/europe-f...ent-1457287588
Quote:
Mismatch of lifespans and birthrates means too few workers are paying into state pension plans

....
While the problem has long been building, it is gaining urgency as European countries’ debt troubles, growing out of the 2008 crisis, push governments to reassess their priorities. Greece, the worst off, has had to reduce the generosity of its pension system repeatedly. Though its situation is unusually dire, Greece isn’t the only European government being forced to acknowledge it has made pension promises it can ill afford.

“Western European governments are close to bankruptcy because of the pension time bomb,” said Roy Stockell, head of asset management at Ernst & Young. “We have so many baby boomers moving into retirement [with] the expectation that the government will provide.”




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Old 03-16-2016, 02:14 PM
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RUSSIA

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-ru...-idUSKCN0WH19M



Quote:
Russia's economic policy makers are in talks to abolish compulsory contributions to employees' managed pension funds that had been aimed at sustaining the long-term health of the system, three sources close to the government said.

The finance ministry and the central bank, who for years had resisted the pressure to scrap the mandatory payments because of worries about the future fiscal burden of pensions, have now conceded the point and are crafting ideas instead on how to encourage voluntary retirement savings, the sources said.

Dwindling revenues following sanctions and a slump in oil prices have left little cash to keep on patching an ever-growing hole in the State Pension Fund. The Fund, managed indirectly by the health ministry, covers current needs and has seen its contributions falling short.

"The decision is still pending, but the finance ministry and the central bank are discussing the 'voluntary' option," said a source familiar with the talks, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
.....
WHAT INSTEAD?

Contacted about the talks, the central bank would only say that there were no discussions taking place about abolishing the accumulative part of the pensions system. It avoided commenting on whether such pension savings would be mandatory or voluntary, however.

Discussions are underway about how to maintain the accumulative part and options that would "ensure guaranteed pensions reimbursement for those participating," a central bank spokeswoman said.

"Special attention is being given to finding tools which will allow workers to choose a more active position in forming their own pension savings," she said in written comments.

But the central bank provided no details about ways to maintain the savings which ensure long-term money inflow into capital markets and which could ease future governments' headaches on how to pay pensions to Russia's aging population.

An official involved in the talks said only that the new plan would "help alleviate all the negative aspects of the abolition of the mandatory savings."

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  #90  
Old 05-25-2016, 10:25 AM
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BRAZIL

http://www.wsj.com/articles/brazils-...tem-1464132981

Quote:
The new government is already talking of raising the retirement age, drawing the wrath of powerful unions and pensioners groups. Senator Paulo Paim, from Ms. Rousseff’s Workers’ Party, or PT, has likened any such move to a war on workers.

“In Brazil, whenever there is a crisis, the first action is to take it out on the working class,” Mr. Paim said. He is leading a group of lawmakers vowing to oppose Mr. Temer’s likely proposal.

What almost no one disputes is that Brazil’s public pension system is in frightful shape. This year it is projected to fall short by 130.8 billion reais (about $37 billion), a 47% increase from its 2015 deficit. The shortfall is projected to soar another 66% to 217.7 billion reais by next year. Brazil already spends roughly 41% of its federal budget on pensions, compared with about 24% in the U.S.

“Brazil is trying to correct a very weakened fiscal story,” said Lisa M. Schineller, an analyst with Standard & Poor’s, one of three major ratings firms that have reduced Brazil’s credit rating to junk since last year. “Clearly, social security is a component that’s weighing on fiscal performance.”

The problem boils down to math: Brazilians retire too soon and contribute too little to generate the benefits they receive.

The average pension is a modest 1,300 reais or $374 a month. But in Brazil, women can retire at age 55 or after working for 30 years, whichever comes first; men can do so at 60 years of age or after 35 years of labor.

The upshot is that the average Brazilian retires at age 54 in a country where life expectancy is 75.7 years and rising. The government calculates that by 2060 there will be only two workers for every retiree, down from a nine-to-one ratio today. Meanwhile, benefits are indexed generously for inflation and GDP growth.
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