GERMANY - The majority of working Germans have never even heard of the so-called 'three pillars' of retirement provision, according to a recent survey by Fidelity International.

The investment manager surveyed 1,000 employees and workers in Germany between the ages of 18 and 55 in March this year and found that 60% of respondents were ignorant of the three-pillar system.

Nearly 70% of those workers who had heard of the three-pillar system confused the second and third pillars, or named real estate purchases as one of the pillars.

More than 60% of respondents admitted to having no idea, or very little idea, about what to expect from the first pillar at retirement, despite the fact an annual information letter has been sent to every employee and worker since 2002.

Most respondents (81%) expect the replacement rate to be 60% of their net income, while more than 40% expects a replacement rate of 80-100%.

But Fidelity pointed out that its own compiled pension index had already shown in 2007 that the rate was closer to 56%.

Christian Wrede, board member at Fidelity International in Germany, said occupational pension schemes had to become more attractive and do more than simply preserve capital.

Fidelity also called for a new information campaign to combat such widespread ignorance of Germany's three-pillar system.

It also said it was necessary to introduce a kind of pension account with regular information on how much money comes from which pillar - similar to the Swedish model.