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Taming pension fund capitalism in Europe: collective and state regulation in times of crisis
Abstract and Figures
The recent financial crisis has led to major losses among many pension funds across Europe, showing the problems in shifting responsibility for old-age income to private actors without sufficient regulation. The impact of the crisis on pension funds and future retirement benefits depends on good governance and effective regulation. There is a large cross-national variation in pension fund capitalism and its regulation across Europe. We compare private supplementary pensions in six countries (Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK) and analyse how these different systems have reacted to the crisis. Whereas higher contributions and delayed indexation may be temporary measures, more important are the long-term consequences for individuals, in particular the diminished rates of return leading to lower pensions. The sponsoring firms, pension funds, the social partners and the state therefore need to adapt investment strategies and strengthen the supervisory mechanisms.
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