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Mariela Baeva
Mariela Baeva
Member of the European Parliament for Bulgaria
2007 - 2009
(first direct EP elections in Bulgaria);

LEED to OECD partner (Nanotech)

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Pension Markets in Focus*


Recent years have witnessed intense pension reform efforts in countries around the globe, often involving an increased use of funded pension programmes managed by the private sector. These funded arrangements are likely to play an increasingly important role in delivering retirement income in many countries and privately managed pension assets will play an increasing role in financial markets, notably as a source of long-term savings.

The Netherlands achieved the highest asset-to-GDP ratio at 138% for pension funds in 2011. The difference between the average growth rate of pension fund assets in a country and its GDP is an indicator of the expansion of the pension fund system and its ability to offer higher benefits to a certain population or broaden its coverage to more people.

In absolute terms, the United States had the largest pension fund market of any OECD member country in 2011 with assets worth USD 10.6 trillion.

Pension fund asset growth between 2001 and 2011 was highest in countries that had started from a low base, such as Eastern European countries.

Three main countries – Hungary, Belgium and Portugal – can be considered to be falling behind other OECD members in pension fund development.

During 2011, pension funds in many countries shifted their geographical allocation to reduce exposure to countries deemed to be risky.

Although in most cases, pension funds have so far preferred to take a cautious, incremental approach to alternative investments, some investors have allocated considerable resources to alternative assets*, reflecting pension fund’s growing appetite for diversification. (*While there is no official definition of alternative assets, the term is usually applied to instruments other than listed equities, bonds, and cash. For the purposes of this survey, “alternative” investments comprise the following types of investments: hedge funds, private equity, real estate, infrastructure, commodities and “other”).

Pension markets in non-OECD economies remain underdeveloped in comparison to OECD markets (as indicated in Figure 21, page 19) by their generally low assets-to- GDP ratios in 2011. As an example: As a percentage of GDP – Bulgaria 6.1

Saving for retirement is for the long haul.

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*© OECD 2012 Pension Markets in Focus

18 Responses to Pension Markets in Focus*

  • Irla says:

    There have been a few pensions where the fees and valuation depleted pension funds: namely US Airways Pilots and Bethlehem Steel. … How do pensions work?

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