Il pilastro privato del sistema previdenziale. Il caso del Regno Unito
In striking contrast with the majority of other European economies, the UK pension system does not pose problems of financial sustainability to public finances. Public expenditure for pensions is foreseen to remain relatively stable for the next 50 years, around 5 percent of GDP, thanks to the considerable stock of privately-funded, actuarially-fair pension provision accumulated by the country, thus making the system (in governmentï¿½s words) ï¿½a fair deal between generationsï¿½. Nonetheless, an intense debate is under way on the alleged crisis of the pension system, resulting not only from the private cost but also from the level of the benefits. The debate encompasses both the demand and the supply side of the pension system. On the one hand, the discussion focuses on the allegedly inadequate level of national savings, particularly by the population on lowest income, which would not produce in the future a level of pension high enough to guarantee an appropriate standard of living in retirement. On the other hand, the fall in equities in the period 2000-02 highlighted the fact that one of the main characteristics of the system, the prevalence of defined-benefit occupational pension funds, would act as a transmission channel of equity market shocks to the corporate sector of the economy. Moreover, in the light of the major role played by life assurances in the supply of pension products and growing interlinkages between the banking and insurance sectors, the financial soundness of life assurances takes on a particular relevance for the stability of the financial system as a whole. The present work illustrates the structural characteristics and significant peculiarities of the UK pension system, with particular emphasis on the evolution of pension savings in the private sector. Furthermore, it surveys the main aspects of the current debate and the different measures put forward as possible solutions. With reference to Italy, the UK experience may constitute a source of meaningful reflections for the current debate on the evolution of private pensions.
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