Having ranked the world’s best place to retire for the past two years, Norway has fallen to third place in a key league table – overtaken by Switzerland and Iceland.

Natixis Investment Managers assessed 43 countries on a series of factors and ranked them according to their overall attractiveness as retirement environments, for its annual Global Retirement Index (GRI).

It was a sharp decline in finances that had sent Norway falling to third overall, Natixis said.

Norway scored 81%, down from 85% in 2016 and 2017, while Switzerland rose to the top with 84% – a score that was unchanged from the previous two years, but enough this year to move it up in the league table.

Iceland climbed to second place, up one from last year, having inreased its score to 84% in 2018, from 82% in 2017 and 80% the year before.

Switzerland’s first place was backed by high scores for quality of life – due to the country’s better air quality and other environmental factors – finances and health, Natixis said.

It was also the only country to finish in the top 10 for all four of the GRI’s sub-indices, the firm said.

Jean Raby, chief executive of Natixis Investment Managers, said: “Global retirement security is facing a multi-dimensional problem, as the traditional three-pillar funding model is challenged by 21st century demographics, fiscal imbalances and monetary policies that are straining the resources of individuals, employers and governments around the world.”

Sweden took fourth place in the ranking in 2018, and New Zealand ranked fifth, both unchanged since 2017.

Ireland moved into the top 10 for the first time since the GRI started, making the largest jump in both ranking and score of all countries in the top 25.

“It shows steep improvements in the material wellbeing sub-index and smaller gains in the finances and health sub-indices,” Natixis said, adding that Ireland’s employment had improved sharply, with greater income equality and unemployment of only 6.2%.

Natixis Global Retirement Index 2018 – Top 10
 RankCountryScore 2018Score 2017Score 2016
 1  Switzerland  84%  84%  84%
 2  Iceland  84%  82%  80%
 3  Norway  81%  86%  86%
 4  Sweden  78%  80%  79%
 5  New Zealand  78%  80%  80%
 6  Australia  78%  78%  78%
 7  Ireland  77%  74%  72%
 8  Denmark  77%  77%  77%
 9  Canada  77%  76%  77%
 10  Netherlands  76%  77%  78%