Tuesday, October 24, 2006

New mandatory pensions in Norway [NO]

epn has a concise summary of recent important developments in the Norwegian pensions market, which is characterised by the introduction of mandatory occupational pensions and the debate about moving to the prudent person rule in asset management. Remember that Norway, together with Iceland and Liechtenstein, is part of the European Economic Area which has committed to implementing the Pensions Directive into their own regulation.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Allianz goes pan-European

Allianz-CEO Diekmann reveals in an interview that Allianz is going to launch a "new pan-European pensions offer" later in the year (i.e. soon). He declines to give any details at this point, so it is not clear how this offering will be structured, but evidently demand from corporate customers has been sufficiently strong to warrant this development.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Of latency trading & algo-busters

This IBM report about algorithmic trading may not appear to be immediately relevant to any investor with a time horizon greater than a business day. But if you have fiduciary responsibility for best execution, it certainly helps to be aware of these developments.

Friday, October 13, 2006

EU Commission sues Italy [IT] [CZ] [HU] [PL]

Following action against the UK and Slovenia, the Commission has decided to refer Italy to the European Court of Justice for non-transposition of the Pensions Directive. Apparently Italy has also not responded to the Commission's reasoned opinion - why it has taken the Commission four months longer than in the case of the UK and Slovenia to discover that they had not received a response is not quite clear.

IPE adds, although it is unclear on what source this information is based, that the Commission has sent letters of formal notice to the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland. At any rate, the latter two countries have not been involved in infringement proceedings regarding the Pensions Directive to date, even though Poland definitely deserves attention as we noted earlier.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

European Pensions from a Swiss perspective

The programme for the one day seminar on pan-European pensions from a Swiss perspective in Basle on 22 November 2006 is now available. Please register here, mentioning Tertium. Alternatively, you can download & send in a registration form.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


The International Accounting Standards Board has redesigned its website and has taken its cue from the XBRL subdomain to offer an RSS feed. Welcome to Really Simple news distribution!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Recent research

(IPE) A recent paper from the Centre for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies (CeRP, not to be mistaken for the CEPR) looks at the effectiveness of pensions reforms in Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Sweden & the UK in the 1990ies by evaluating the changes in private savings rates these reforms caused. Researchers worked on the assumption that the pensions reforms aimed to make public PAYG systems more fiscally sustainable in the light of demographic ageing, thus reducing public saving. This in turn should raise the propensity for private saving. Unfortunately no such significant increase in the private savings rate could be found. Thus, these reforms appear to have been largely ineffective from a macroeconomic point of view.
In my view, there could be two explanations for this: 1) The reforms effectively lowered public saving, but the public has not yet become aware of the need for correspondingly higher private savings. The consequences of this would be dire. 2) The reforms did not have the effect intended to reduce public saving. In any case, this paper's macroeconomic perspective on policymaking is rather refreshing.

Initially mistaking the CeRP for the CEPR, I subsequently checked their (also not RSS equipped!) site and found two not so recent, but even more interesting and fascinating reports focusing on the respective microstructures of two highly relevant markets for European pension funds: the European corporate bond market and the European government bond market. Those markets' structures are analysed with a view to increasing their transparency, liquidity and efficiency, ostensibly by means of EU regulation. A combination of an up-to-date description of market structures and a game theoretical assessment of the impact of regulation on said criteria make for a highly educational read for everyone who is interested in European fixed interest markets.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Danish changes [DK]

This article describes the circumstances of the recent changes in the Danish retirement provision system in a bit more detail than I've summarised earlier. It appears that the public debate in Denmark takes place at an appropriate level.