SLOVAKIA - The Bratislava prosecutor's office is to examine comments made by Slovak prime minister Robert Fico about pension fund management companies.
The action is in response to a complaint filed by the former attorney general Jozef Šátek, a spokesperson for the prosecutor's office told IPE.
Under Slovak law the special prosecutor has at least 30 days to check a complaint, after which an investigation may be started or the complaint may be dismissed.
In early August Fico told a press conference that the country‘s pension fund management companies were losing people's money while paying their employees huge salaries.
He warned people that at retirement they will not even get out as benefit the amount of money they had paid into the pension fund management companies.
The Slovak association of pension fund management companies (ADSS) rejected the accusations, saying that any possible losses on pension fund management companies‘ balance sheets would not affect savers' assets.
"The second pillar of pension saving involves managing funds of approximately 1.5m people and it is not - no offence - like managing a parking lot," said ADSS chief executive officer Ivan Barri.
"Our sector is regulated by a powerful set of laws, the purpose of which is to secure people's savings for retirement," he said. "For instance, we are are being monitored by the National Bank of Slovakia [the Slovak central bank] therefore we have to maintain conservative investor behaviour and attitudes."
Fico has also signalled that he wants to amend the law on second pillar pension schemes to allow people to opt out. Initially he also wanted people to take out the money from the pension system completely. In June the government tabled a new proposal that would see money taken out of the second pillar going into the unfunded first pillar.
However, the ADSS and the National Bank of Slovakia fear this amendment will render the second pillar, and with it the whole pension system, unstable.
"ADSS sees the proposed amendment to the social security law as jeopardising the stability and effectiveness of the second pillar of the pension saving system," said Barri.
The ADSS reported that 122 objections to the amendment had been submitted during the consultation period.
But Barri issued a call for a return to a rational debate on the issue and a move away from polemics. "We do not want the factual debate to be replaced by speculations or political arguments," he said. "Quite on the contrary, we will do anything in our powers to prevent this."