GERMANY - Occupational pension arrangements have stagnated in Germany, according to a study by Gothaer Insurance.
Around 62% of all Germans already invest in an occupational pension - however, the number of new arrangements has come to standstill.
The main reasons for employees not becoming more engaged with occupational pensions, according to the study 'Occupational pensions - the unknown dimension', are the absence of an occupational pension plan by the employer, too high costs or another sufficient pension plan already being in place.
On top of that, there are big gaps in knowledge.
Despite legal obligations, many employers do not offer their employees an occupational pension.
This applies to 45% of companies in East Germany and to 36% of service-providing companies.
When asked by the employees, only 30% of employers offered such a pension, while 10% do not want to offer an occupational pension on principle.
A lot of employees, especially those with a higher income, believe they are sufficiently provided for when they retire. But 86% of employees said they would take out a pension if their employer helped with the costs.
Only 40% of 14 to 39 year olds know that an occupational pension is protected in case of company insolvency, while 45% are unsure about the portability of such pensions and only every third knows he has a right to an occupational pension.
The gaps in knowledge were particularly present in small enterprises with fewer than 100 employees.
The study shows that 91.4% of those surveyed do not intend to take out an occupational pensions contract or do not plan to increase their existing one.
Only 57% those aged 14-39 years have an occupational pension.
With regards to penetration by sectors, the crafts come last with 50.7%, while the industry is the leader with 71.8%.
The basis for this study is a survey of more than 1,000 employees paying social insurance contributions by TNS Infratest Sozialforschung.
Another survey, conducted by Allianz Global Investors in 11 European countries, found that institutional investors show ongoing confidence in the euro.
About 80% of the respondents said the euro would survive under the current circumstances, while only 4% said it would not.
The relatively high share of respondents undecided about the fate of the currency shows that the sovereign debt crisis in the euro-zone is seen as a major concern or risk among institutional investors.
There were no major differences between the views of those in the euro-zone and respondents in countries with national currencies. Nearly 10% of all respondents view a formal haircut in peripheral countries as possible.
Most participants expect gradual progress toward economic and policy integration in the euro-zone. Furthermore, many anticipate tighter regulation and a more centralised fiscal policy that will lead to more responsibilities assigned to the European Central Bank.
Another possibility mentioned by some respondents is the increasing influence of the core countries, such as France and Germany.
More than 150 institutional investors managing or advising assets totalling €990bn answered the survey, which was conducted in March and April 2011.