Finnish Centre for Pensions
The Finnish Centre for Pensions acts as the liaison body of the private-sector earnings-related pension scheme in an otherwise decentralised scheme. It aims to promote the implementation and development of the pension scheme.
The Finnish Centre for Pensions does not insure employees or grant or pay pensions. Instead, it is responsible for tasks which need to be handled centrally. Such tasks include the following:
- producing research, statistics and background information for the evaluation and development of earnings-related pensions and the monitoring of reforms,
- supporting law drafting relating to earnings-related pensions,
- producing and managing services relating to the implementation of pensions, such as data logistics, division of costs and actuarial services,
- producing training, communication and guidance services relating to earnings-related pensions,
- producing legal, international and supervisory services relating to earnings-related pensions, and
- acting as the liaison body in international earnings-related pension matters and as the agency transmitting pension applications of Finnish residents who apply for a pension from abroad.
The position and tasks of the Finnish Centre for Pensions are stipulated in the Act on the Finnish Centre for Pensions (2006/397).
The customers of the services produced by the Finnish Centre for Pensions include the authorised pension providers, other handlers of social security and social insurance, the authorities, decision-makers, research and educational institutions, persons insured under the earnings-related pension acts, policyholders and the media.
Pension register data
Almost all private and public sector pension providers maintain pension accrual data in the joint earnings and accrual register of the earnings-related pension scheme.
The Finnish Centre for Pensions is the registrar for the earnings and accrual data of
- the self-employed and farmers under the Self-employed Persons’ Pensions Act and the Farmer’s Pensions Act,
- the insured of certain company and industry-wide pension funds under the Employees Pensions Act,
- unsalaried periods,
- the insured under the Seafarer’s Pensions Act for the time before 1 January 2005.
Technically, the earnings and accrual register is maintained on behalf of the authorised pension providers and the Finnish Centre for Pensions by Arek Oy, jointly owned by these parties. Arek Oy also carries the technical responsibility of the following registers maintained by the Finnish Centre for Pensions:
- the person register,
- the employer and insurance register,
- the application register,
- the pension register,
- the personal data register for foreign pensions,
- the pension application register of Työeläke.fi service, and
- the case management register.
As a rule, the register data of the Finnish Centre for Pensions is stored on separate data bases. Data and material in a manual state can be handled only by those members of staff whose work tasks so require. Using the registers always requires personal identification. Physically, the registers are stored in secure and supervised vaults.
The Finnish Centre for Pensions’ right or duty to disclose confidential data is based on either the consent of the registered or laws.
The register data of the pension scheme is used to implement pensions as well as for research and statistics compiled on the basis of the register data.
Supervises pension insuring
One of the tasks of the Finnish Centre for Pensions is to supervise that employers take out pension insurance for their employees and that the self-employed insure themselves. If an employer or a self-employed person refuses to take out insurance, the Finnish Centre for Pensions takes out the insurance with one of the authorised pension providers on behalf of and at the expense of the negligent employer or self-employed person (enforced insurance).
Earnings-related pension guidance and division of costs
The Finnish Centre for Pensions issues application guidelines to the pension providers and makes decisions concerning the interpretation of the pension acts. The application guidelines provide interpretations and specify the principles laid down by law so that all pension providers act in the same way when granting statutory pensions. The application guidelines are often prepared in cooperation with the pension providers and sometimes also with the labour market organisations.
One important responsibility of the Finnish Centre for Pensions is to divide the pension costs between the pension providers. This centralised clearing and division of costs allows for a functioning decentralised pension scheme, in which the last provider grants and pays out the entire pension.