GERMANY – Dresdner Bank, part of insurance giant Allianz, has launched a nationwide marketing campaign in an effort to get German small- and midsize enterprises (SMEs) to do more to promote second-pillar pensions.

The campaign comes amid comments from the bank that more than 40% of SMEs still do not offer their employees a corporate pension, despite their having a legal right to a pension under the so-called Riester pension reforms of 2001. A study by pollster Allensbach last summer yielded a similar result.

Dresdner also noted that only 5% of a German retiree’s income came from the second-pillar, compared with 25% in Switzerland, 37% in the UK and 40% in the Netherlands.

“When it comes to corporate pensions, Germany is clearly still a developing country,” commented Andreas Georgi, board member at Dresdner responsible for private and corporate banking.

As part of its marketing campaign, Dresdner has invited 1,000 SMEs from around Germany to conferences dealing with corporate pension saving.

The bank has also enlisted the support of Walter Riester, the former social affairs minister who oversaw the eponymous reforms in 2001 that were crucial in establishing second- and third-pillar pension provision.

Riester told a Dresdner conference in Hamburg: “There is an increasing gap between what people will expect from their retirement and what the government will actually provide them. A corporate pension can close this gap, but employers in Germany have to do more to assist in that effort.”

Given that corporate pensions are not yet ubiquitous, some pension experts like Bert Rürup, professor of economics at Darmstadt University, have urged the government to make retirement saving on the company level semi-mandatory.