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Welfare Reform on the Web (March 2003): Pensions - Overseas

ASSET RICH AND CASH POOR: RETIREMENT PROVISION AND HOUSING POLICY IN SINGAPORE

D McCarthy, O S Mitchell and J Piggott

Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, vol. 1, 2002, p.197-222

Singapore's Central Provident Fund is one of the oldest examples of a mandatory defined contribution pension scheme. Its rules, however, allow individuals to use their accumulated funds to pay for housing. There is a danger that people may put so much money into buying a house that they have very little left in financial assets in their CPF account at retirement. Article suggests that a typical 50 year old will have three quarters of their retirement wealth invested in housing, and insufficient cash left to purchase a decent annuity.

A NEW PENSION ENVIRONMENT IN TURKEY

N Ayanoglu

Pensions International, no.44, 2002, p.11-13

Describes the new system of private pension funds introduced in Turkey in 2001, to complement the existing social insurance system. Under the long-established social security system, three institutions provide cover for medical costs, disability benefit and retirement pensions for different groups of workers. Under the new legislation, there will also be companies solely devoted to selling pension plans based on the defined contributions system. Participation will be voluntary.

PENSION REFORM IN CHINA

S H Leckie

Pensions, vol. 8, 2003, p.147-151

Describes the New Unified Pension System in China which commenced in 1999. This consists of a state basic pension of 20% of average provincial wages, a state individual account pension based on 11% contributions, and private sector voluntary supplementary schemes. The new system is less generous than its predecessor, a pay-as-you-go scheme which offered pensions of about 80% of final salary.

PRIVATE PENSIONS AND EQUITY IN IRELAND AND THE UK

G Hughes

Pensions, vol. 8, 2003, p.167-178

Article outlines the tax breaks offered to people who take out private pensions in the UK and Ireland. Shows that the annual cost of these tax incentives amounted to over 1% of GDP in both countries in 1997. It substantially exceeded the cost of means-tested social assistance schemes in both countries and amounted to two-thirds of direct expenditure on social insurance pensions in Ireland and to one-third in the UK. Evidence relating to the distribution of pension tax break expenditure shows that the present favourable tax treatment of private pensions is inequitable, as about two-thirds of the benefits accrue to the top two income deciles in both countries and 3 percent or less to the bottom two deciles.

SOCIAL SECURITY REFORM IN ADVANCED COUNTRIES: EVALUATING PENSION FINANCE

T Ihori and T Tachibanaki

London: Routledge, 2002

Book evaluates the effect of recent social security reforms in advanced countries, focusing on pension programmes, and suggests future directions for policy development. It looks at three different policy approaches aimed at addressing the problems common to developed nations:

  • the shift from pay-as-you-go to funded pension systems;
  • the privatisation of public pension systems;
  • the contribution of tax revenues to the pension system.
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