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Countries around the world are increasingly relying on individual pension savings accounts to provide income in old age for their citizens. Although these funds have now been in place for several decades, their performance is usually measured using methods that are not meaningful in relation to this long-term objective. The recent global financial crisis has highlighted the need to develop better performance evaluation methods that are consistent with the retirement income objective of pension funds. Compiling research derived from a partnership among the World Bank, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and three private partners, 'Evaluating the Financial Performance of Pension Funds' discusses the theoretical basis and key implementation issues related to the design of performance benchmarks based on life-cycle savings and investment principles. The book begins with an evaluation of the financial performance of funded pension systems using the standard mean variance framework. It then provides a discussion of the limitations inherent to applying these methods to pension funds and outlines the many other issues that should be addressed in developing more useful and meaningful performance measures through the formulation of pension-specific benchmark portfolios. Practical implementation issues are addressed through empirical examples of how such benchmarks could be developed. The book concludes with commentary and observations from several noted pension experts about the need for a new approach to performance measurement and the impact of the recent global financial crisis on pension funds.
The use of matching contributions to enhance the participation and level of savings in pensions system has now been in use for nearly three decades in a number of high income countries. Increasingly, countries across the full range of economic development are looking to the design as a means of addressing the low rates of participation in formal pension and other retirement savings systems. A number of countries have recently introduced innovations in their pension systems that significantly rely on contributions matches and related types of direct subsidies to provide incentives for groups that mandates and other indirect methods such as preferential tax treatment have been unsuccessful in reaching. There is particular interest among developing countries in utilizing this design to extend coverage to informal sector and low income workers that typically do not pay income related taxes. This volume provides descriptions and analysis of the design, experience and outcomes achieved in the high income countries where there information about the dynamics and outcomes that this approach has achieved is not beginning to emerge. It also reviews new efforts to use the design in a number of other settings in which the matching contributions have been included as a significant element in reform of the pension system. The review of the experience with matching contribution across this full range of settings provides important observations and some initial lessons for policy makers and analysts who may be considering or evaluating the use of this approach to increase pension coverage.
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