Pension Funds

In Finland, the statutory earnings-related pension scheme is partly funded. For example, private-sector pensions have been partly funded since the scheme came into force in 1962. In many other European countries, so-called buffer funds have been created as late as in the 1990s. Therefore, the accrued statutory pension assets are relatively small compared to those in Finland.

In several EU member states in connection with pension reforms in the 2000s, compulsory individual fully-funded pension accounts were introduced, so-called premium pension schemes. These schemes are funded with earnings-related pension contributions, but in Eurostat’s statistics system, for example, they are classified as 2nd-tier pensions, i.e. as private supplementary pensions.

Supplementary pension schemes are usually funded. For example, the extensive pension assets in Switzerland and the Netherlands are a result of compulsory and fully funded supplementary pensions.

The following comparative figure presents the sizes of pension funds in different countries in relation to the country’s GDP. The statistics date back to 2015 and cover statutory (1st tier) and labour-market-based supplementary pension arrangements (2nd tier), but not individual pension insurances. The primary source is OECD’s database Global Pension Statistics. For some countries, that data has been supplemented with national statistical data.

For example, in addition to occupational supplementary pension funds, the figures for Norway include the state pension fund established in 2006, which is lacking from the OECD figures. Norway’s speciality are the country’s big oil resources, on which the state’s pension fund is largely based (on the former oil fund established in 1990). Despite its name, the state’s pension fund is not intended to be used only to cover pension expenditure.

Size of pension funds, % of GDP in 2015

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