Who is in greatest need to reform pension?

November 8, 2011

This year’s fall in global equities (down nearly 20 percent at one point) and tumbling bond yields, along with the euro zone sovereign debt crisis, are sowing the seeds for a new financial crisis — in the pension funds industry.

But which country is in the greatest need of pension reform?

Everyone, you may say, but a new study from Allianz Global Investors finds that Greece, India, China and Thailand need to reform their pension systems the most.

The study, which charts the relative sustainability of national pension systems in 44 countries, shows that India and China — two of the fastest growing emerging economies — suffer from low pension coverage and lack of adequate measures to improve the situation.

Thailand, on the other hand, has a sporadic pension coverage and an extremely low retirement age of 55 years.

Who is best prepared? Australia, the study shows, followed by Sweden (no surprise), Denmark, New Zealand and the Netherlands.

“Australia… has a two-tier system of lean public pensions and highly developed funded pensions which means it is best prepared with respect to potential burden for public finances, thus, it is under the least pressure to reform,” says Brigitte Miksa, head of international pensions at Allianz GI.

“Also in a strong position are Sweden, Denmark, New Zealand and the Netherlands. As with Australia, these three western European countries have comprehensive pension systems based on strong, funded pension provisions.”

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