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Stoiber promises to simplify Riester pensions

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GERMANY – Edmund Stoiber, the conservatives’ candidate for chancellor in this autumn’s elections, has promised to simplify the new private Riester pension schemes if elected. Stoiber says the reforms have created a "bureaucratic monster."

Moreover, he claims very few people understand the new private schemes which he says require a huge government infrastructure to be established in order to implement them.

Stoiber, who leads incumbent chancellor Gerhard Shröder in the polls, says he will strip the payout conditions surrounding the private Riester pensions from 11 at the moment to just two:

•earliest payout age to be set at 60
•investors to be guaranteed at least the sum of their contributions.

Stoiber, the Bavarian prime minister, says a private pension scheme doesn’t need any more payout criteria than these two, which will help people understand the new pension funds more easily.

Stoiber says he recognises the need to encourage people to take out private pension cover but, other than boosting private ownership of property as an investment vehicle, doesn’t say clearly how he hopes to achieve this.

In addition, he has repeated his pledge to bring the average social security contribution, including pensions, to below 40% of salary during the next legislative period from its current average above 41%.

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