In response to December’s government proposals to reform Norway’s pension system to make it fairer, Finance Norway (Finans Norge) has called for changes to occupational pensions and measures to strengthen individual pension plans.
Finans Norge said it took part last Thursday in the Standing Committee on Labour and Social Affairs’ hearing in parliament (Storting) on the government’s report to parliament on proposals for changes to the pension system.
“Finans Norge supports the government’s proposal to strengthen the financial and social sustainability of the pension system, but points out that it is important that occupational pensions are adjusted in parallel and at the same time as the changes in the state pension,” the group said.
The government’s proposals to parliament announced on 15 December – entitled ‘An improved pension system with a strengthened social profile’ – included ideas about how the pension system’s financial and social sustainability would be safeguarded over time.
The government said it believed increased age limits, better old-age pensions for the disabled and changing the regulation of the minimum rates in the state old-age pension would contribute to a fairer pension system in the future too.
Finance Norway said that in Thursday’s consultation, it had stressed that it was important, among other things, to start work swiftly on adapting occupational pension schemes to the proposed new age limits in the state pension, introducing the new age limits simultaneously in both systems.
Stefi Kierulf Prytz, director of life and pension insurance at the lobby group, also said it was important for individuals to have a good overview and information on pensions in order to understand the incentives in the pension system and make good choices.
“The industry is already doing a lot of good work in this area, and we are happy to contribute our experience and expertise to the government’s upcoming work on a holistic strategy for information in the pension area,” she said.
The industry association also pointed out that more than 95% of private sector employees in Norway had a defined contribution pension, which usually ended at the age of 77.
“This means that those who only have a contributory pension from employment and who have no other savings will only have the state pension to live on after the age of 77,” it said.
Kierulf Prytz bemoaned the government having cut the IPS (individuell pensjonssparing) scheme, which she said was “a good and fair scheme for tax-favoured individual pension savings”.
Norwegians’ pension savings had been more than halved when the government cut the savings rates in 2022, she said.
“It is therefore paradoxical that the government is encouraging individuals to prepare for old age, having at the same time sharply reduced access to long-term and tax-advantaged pension savings,” she said, adding that the industry association believed the framework for individual pension savings should be strengthened again and made more stable.