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France’s PERCO company pension plans near €17bn in assets

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Assets under management in French PERCO workplace retirement savings plans rose 11% since last year to reach nearly €17bn, according to figures from AFG, the French asset management association. 

Around 2.7m employees had already made contributions to a PERCO as at the end of June, also representing 11% year-on-year growth.

Over six months, gross payments into PERCOs amounted to €1.6bn, up 7% compared with the first half of 2017. Withdrawals amounted to €500m, leaving net inflows of €1.1bn, up 10%.

The number of employers offering a PERCO stood at 244,000 following 6% year-on-year growth, according to AFG, with 14,000 companies creating PERCOs in the six-month period.

The association also noted that more than half of companies had transformed their PERCOs into PERCO Plus plans, which offer a lower charge on employer contributions due to the incorporation of an SME financing fund. These have to be at least 7% invested in small or medium-sized companies.

PERCO Plus funds passed €1bn in assets on the back of 37% year-on-year growth, according to the AFG.

Considerable room for growth remained, it added, as only 25% of employees with a PERCO had access to an SME fund.

A third of the nearly €17bn assets in PERCOs, belonging to 41% of members, were managed according to the default lifecycle approach, AFG noted.

The average amount held in the plans by savers was stable at €6,120.

Thumbs-up for ‘proper’ pension savings reform

Meanwhile, AFG said pension saving in France should get a boost from the government’s “PACTE” law.

One of the main objectives of the law is to harmonise France’s existing retirement savings products, of which there are four, by bringing them under a new wrapper, the Plan d’Epargne Retraite, with some new rules to make pension saving more attractive.

The PACTE law heralded a “proper” pension saving reform, according to AFG.

Highlighting various provisions in the draft law – tax-deductible voluntary payments, freedom of choice at retirement, access to savings for buying a principal residence, and easier transfers – the association said these would be “strong incentives for savers to further prepare their retirement saving”.

The draft PACTE law was recently adopted by the Assemblée Nationale and is due to be voted on in its final form next year. The government wants to see pension saving assets grow from around €220bn currently to €300bn by 2022.

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