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Overview of contractual savings institutions

Listed author(s):
  • Vittas, Dimitri
  • Skully, Michael

Contractual savings institutions include national provident funds, life insurance companies, private pension funds, and funded social pension insurance systems. They have long-term liabilities and stable cash flows and are therefore ideal providers of term finance, not only to government and industry, but also to municipal authorities and the housing sector. Except for Singapore, Malaysia, and a few other countries, most developing countries have small and insignificant contractual savings industries that have been undermined by high inflation and inhibited by oppressive regulations and pay-as-you-go social pension insurance systems. Contractual savings institutions play a much bigger role in the financial systems of developed countries. In some countries, such as Switzerland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom, the resources mobilized by life insurance companies and pension funds correspond to well over 100 percent of annual GDP. The authors provide an overview of the structure and the state of development of contractual savings institutions in both high- and low-income countries. They also identify a number of operating characteristics that define the social, economic, financial and regulatory implications of different types of contractual savings institutions. The authors emphasize the fundamental objectives for reforming the contractual savings and pension systems.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 605.

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Date of creation: 31 Mar 1991
Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:605
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