FINLAND – Finland has seen a “moderate” rise in old-age pension applications following reform to the system, according to the Finnish Centre for Pensions.

But it said it “cannot yet estimate the number of persons who have postponed their retirement”. Under reforms that came in this year, people are able to take old-age pensions more flexibly between 63 and 68.

“The number of applications for an old-age pension has increased moderately as the pension reform took effect,” the centre said. “The number of applications for an old-age pension which had become pending by the end of January this year increased by less than 4,000 applications compared to the same date the previous year.

“Less than every fifth person entitled to make use of the flexible retirement age has so far made use of the possibility to take the statutory old-age pension earlier.”

It said that already more than 2,000 people have retired in accordance with the new legislation. The pension reform made it possible to apply for an old-age pension for three age groups simultaneously.

“Especially those who now reach the age of 63 are clearly not in a hurry,” said Mikko Pellinen, head of department at the centre. “They taste what it feels like to work voluntarily and in this new situation they want to ponder different alternatives without hurrying.”

Last month the International Monetary Fund urged the Finnish government to make more politically difficult pension reform measures to make its finances sustainable. The IMF said the “political arithmetic” suggests there may be dangers in waiting too long,