Since 1995, the Russian government has been engaged in pension reform, with technical assistance coming from a wide range of international agencies.

The government obtained a loan from the World Bank for restructuring of its social security system. It was obvious that the ambitious reforms conceived by the government would require the involvement and assistance of high-profile domestic and foreign experts.

An international consulting team under the supervision of the World Bank's David Linderman provided support for the government in developing the programme for transition to the manadatory funded pension system.

Also significant is the contribution of David Callund of Callund Consulting in the UK, who is active in the creation of the non-government funded private pensions. Under a Know-How Fund supported project, the international consultants trained Russian specialists and worked on legislation development for the State Inspectorate of Non-Governmental Pension Funds.

Under the TACIS project, headed by C Zweekhorst of Stichting Performance /ERC, the largest Russian automobile company AVTOVAZ received support in developing an occupational pension scheme for employees.

Western expert support of Russian pension reform is crucial for the success of consulting business in this field.

Among those active here, William Mercer's Keith Exall has been providing support to multinational companies and their Russian subsidiaries in establishing savings/retirement plans for local employees.

And since 1994, our own Russian consulting firm has been involved in the creation of pension schemes and providing actuarial and other services required by pension funds. In addition, our firm has prepared a draft law for Non-State Pension Funds activity for the Tula regional administration, which is one of 20 of Russia's 86 region with regional legislation in the pensions area.

Evgeniy Yakushev is president of Pension and Actuarial Consulting in Moscow, a member of Euracs.