Around the world today there are striking differences in pension systems. The roles played by families, employers, trade unions, financial intermediaries, community organizations, affiliation groups, and governmental agencies vary tremendously. Yet despite these differences, in almost every country the government is ultimately the pension insurer of last resort, either explicitly or implicitly. If designed well and managed well, a system of government pension insurance can enhance the wellbeing of the individuals served by it and even contribute towards the resilience of the financial system at large. But if designed or managed poorly, it can undermine economic security at both the micro and macro level. This paper explores the principles for the successful management of pension insurance and draws some lessons from the mistakes made by the U.S. government in managing its Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation.
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