Global pension assets, which at the end of 2000 represented more than $12.2trn (e13.4trn) are forecast to grow to more than $18trn by 2005, according to figures from research corporation InterSec.

And in its forthcoming annual Study of Global Pension Assets, InterSec reveals that almost 90% of the world’s pension assets are concentrated in just five countries.
Significantly, North America, which accounts for around five per cent of the world’s population, holds a staggering 62% of global pension assets.
The US, which has half the population of Europe, currently holds three times the tally of European pension assets, with just over $7.6trn against Europe's approximately $2.6trn.

Japan is the world’s second largest pension market, although InterSec says it anticipates lower than average growth going forward in Japan, due to persisting economic difficulties.
The UK has the third largest pool of pension assets - approximately the same size as that for all the countries of Continental Europe together.

Furthermore the survey reveals that the pension world is dominated by a number of mega-funds, with the top 300 schemes globally accounting for approximately half of worldwide pension assets.
Japan is the most concentrated market with the top ten plans representing more than 40% of total Japanese pension assets.
Similarly, InterSec says, the Continental European market is dominated by a number of superfunds in the Netherlands and Scandinavia.

In terms of the split between public and private pension schemes, InterSec reveals that 59% of world pension assets are in private pension plans, but notes that there is considerable regional variation in the private/public scheme division.