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German pension association to brief parliament

GERMANY - The secretary general of the German association for company pension schemes, Klaus Stiefermann, is to take part in a hearing at the federal parliament tomorrow.

The Berlin session will take experts’ opinions on pension reform, the Arbeitsgemeinschaft fuer betriebliche Altersversorgung, or aba, said.

Although Stiefermann is not expected to “speak against the reform”, aba spokesman Thomas Schulz said Stiefermann might comment on the Alterseinkunftegesetz law that would abolish tax privileges for pensions.

The issue of mobility, portabilitaet, which Schulz described as “problematic”, might also come up.

Stiefermann has commented on the Alterseinkunftegesetzt this week. In a statement, he said: “What we need least at the moment is lawmakers hindering occupational pensions.”

The government’s website, meanwhile, says, that “the government has decided to remove all the obstacles over company pension schemes”.

The aim would be to “make the pension schemes so flexible that the mobility of the employee is not hampered and is adjusted to the requirement of the working world. Therefore the employee on changing employer should have the right to transfer the capital accrued in the old employer’s scheme into the new employer’s.”

According to the bill based on the advice of the Ruerup Commission in March last year – which was passed in December - the tax privileges would be abolished by January 2005.

Chancellor Gerard Schroeder said today that social and economic reforms are necessary for the future of Germany.

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