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Swiss Chilanpore : the way forward for pension reform?

  • Vittas, Dimitri
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    Many countries are considering far-reaching pension reform. This is happening in response to growing demographic pressures in some countries (especially in Western and Eastern Europe), to unsustainably generous benefits in others (especially in Latin America), or to failure to ensure the profitable investment of accumulated funds (as seems to be true with national provident funds in African countries). Given the worldwide interest in reform, one could ask: Is there a blueprint for pension reform? Can lessons learned in different countries be combined in a best-practice structure usable in different countries'pension systems? The author reviews the experience of Switzerland, Chile and Singapore, countries with relatively successful economies and pension systems. He suggests a multipillar pension system - which he dubs Swiss Chilanpore - that would blend the hard-headed softness of the Swiss, the expensive yields of the Chilean scheme, and the ruthless efficiency of Singapore. He emphasizes that: there is no perfect pension system - all systems suffer from the problems of moral hazard, adverse selection agency costs, and free riders; and all well-functioning pension systems require good government and good management. All pension systems have to cope with the problems of long-term uncertainty. For these reasons, the author favors a multipillar approach that diversifies across different providers. Swiss Chilanpore would have two compulsory and two voluntary pillars: a first pillar (drawn from the Swiss model) consisting of two parts, a flat-rate pension proportional to the length of a person's career and an earnings-related pension based on annual actualized lifetime earnings; a second pillar consisting of a central agency, which could be public or private, for record-keeping and other centralized functions, and private fund management companies for investing funds, the point being to keep operating costs down and achieve high investment returns; and third and fourth pillars based on occupational pension schemes and personal savings. The proposed structure would aim to combine the strengths and avoid the weaknesses of the three countries'systems, but the author cautions that no reform proposal would apply equally well in all countries, regardless of local circumstances and conditions.

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    Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 1093.

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    Date of creation: 28 Feb 1993
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    Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1093
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    1. Vittas, Dimitri & Skully, Michael, 1991. "Overview of contractual savings institutions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 605, The World Bank.
    2. Davis, E.P. & DEC, 1993. "The structure, regulation, and performance of pension funds in nine industrial countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1229, The World Bank.
    3. Vittas, Dimitri & Iglesias, Augusto, 1992. "The rationale and performance of personal pension plans in Chile," Policy Research Working Paper Series 867, The World Bank.
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