Pension companies are established exclusively to manage pension funds. For the first 10 years following the law’s implementation, on January 1, 2004, a company can only manage one fund.
The minimum share capital is the Macedonian denar equivalent of E1.5m. Once the assets reach E100m equivalent, the share capital is increased by E1m and by a further E1m for every subsequent E100m increase in assets.
Pension companies can be established by local and/or foreign legal entities.
A minimum 51% of the founder must be banks, insurance companies, pension companies or other licensed financial institutions.
These in turn must have a minimum three years’ existence, minimum share capital of E20m at the time of applying for a licence, and in the case of foreign entities, have for at least a year a an investment grade rating by an international ratings agency.
Board members cannot be simultaneously directors or managers of other Macedonian pension fund companies, pension asset managers or pension custodians.
For the first 10 years of the law’s implementation, only two pension company licences will be issued, subject to at least three companies submitting bids for the pre-qualification stage.
A pension fund is an open-ended investment fund, whose assets must be separated from that of the pension company. Its name cannot contain the word ‘Macedonia’ in any form.
The Agency for Supervision of Fully Funded Pension Insurance (MAPAS), answerable to the government and Ministry of Labour and Social Policy (which control’s the agency legality), runs the tenders, and is the supervisor, regulator and licence issuer. Its roles include promoting public awareness of the pensions system.
Compulsory members (those entering the workforce on or after January 1, 2003) must join only one pension funds.
They can transfer from one fund to the other two years after the implementation of the law in January. Members’ pensions are inheritable.
The collection of contributions will be administered by the Pension and Disability Insurance Fund, the state first-pillar fund, which will transfer seven percentage points of the 20% of gross salary contribution to the private pension funds.
Sales of pensions
Pension fund sales agents must have passed the MAPAS examination. They cannot work for more than one company, and cannot cross-sell pensions with other products.
Fees levied as a percentage of contributions will be determined at the tender process. Management fees will be 0.05% per month of net asset value. There’s also a fee for transfer of members.
Pension funds must inform members in writing at least once every six month about the value of their assets, contribution dates and transfer payments. If requested by a member they must provide, within a month of a request, a statement of the value of the pension account.
At least once a year members must be informed of the asset allocation of their fund, and details of individual issuers of securities if they constitute more than 1% of the fund’s value, as well as fund management, asset management and broker fees.