Nordic roundup: Norwegian civil service pension reform, JØP/DIP, AP Pension
Norway’s draft reform of the workplace pension for public sector staff would create winners and losers, with older workers in particular losing out, according to a new analysis of the proposed changes.
In a summary of the report from research organisation Fafo and actuarial firm Lillevold & Partners, and commissioned by NTL (Norwegian Civil Service Union), Fafo said: “Many NTL members are expected to have relatively long working careers, and several can get just as good a pension under the proposed new system at 65 years and 67 years.
“On the other hand there are some, particularly among the elderly, who have shorter careers and will lose pension in a new system.”
A significant portion of scheme members want to retire relatively early, Fafo said, adding that these people could therefore experience a pension loss in the future under the proposal.
“If the majority of the NTL members are to be equally well off or better off after a change, the savings rates in the new system must exceed the proposed five percent in yearly savings,” it added. “Even so, a shift will create winners and losers making the transformation process complicated.”
The report, which is based on the proposed new pension model described in a December 2015 report from the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, said that the pension effects of working longer would be far stronger in the new solution than in the old one.
Meanwhile in Denmark, JØP and DIP — the professional pension fund for lawyers and economists’ and the fund for engineers — reported investment returns of 6.4% and 6.7% respectively for 2016, before pension returns tax.
The two funds have been gradually merging operations over the last few years and recently announced they would pursue a full merger.
JØP said corporate bonds and listed equities had contributed particularly well last year. JØP returned 7.5% on corporate bonds and 7.2% on real assets.
“It was best to own shares in emerging markets countries as well as in the US, while European shares slowed somewhat and Japanese shares went down to zero,” it said.
It said that in comparison with other Danish pension funds, JØP’s result for last year was expected to be around the middle of the league table, a couple of percentage points from the top.
DIP’s best performing asset classes last year were equities with an 8% return and real assets, which gained 6.6%.
Danish commercial mutual pensions provider AP Pension reported 2016 returns of between 7.2% and 10.7%, depending on age profile.
The firm’s CIO Ralf Magnussen said: “It was a wild year on the financial markets.”
Looking ahead, he said AP Pension would continue to be “offensive, active, and to invest globally” in 2017.
The firm was still cautiously optimistic about the global economy, he said.
“Many people are talking about what [US president] Trump means, and if he can succeed in carrying out his economic policy, it will be good for the markets,” Magnussen said. “On the other hand it would be bad if he starts a real trade war, but we believe he is too clever to do that.”