Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Pensions barometer

Keeping in line with the unseasonally mild weather, Aon has published its European Pensions Barometer 2006. The purpose of this instrument is to determine which systems are under the greatest pressure, so that material change is likely to be forced to occur in the medium to long term. Given the omnipresent pressure on fiscal policies, such change will invariably affect labour cost, which is why the results are considered relevant for corporate location decisions.

The five countries with the worst pensions climate are Belgium, Slovenia, Greece, France & Malta with the best three being Denmark, Estonia & Ireland. This ranking is generated using four broad macroeconomic categories, only one of which refers to occupational pensions. The categories are evenly weighted. The low weight of occupational pensions makes sense if seen in the context of the barometer's purpose.

The approach is interesting and expandable. Naturally, individual categories and variables are subject to the authors' discretion, but this type of helicopter view is often useful. Unfortunately, important countries are currently missing from the survey's assessment, such as Switzerland, which is certainly an important potential location, or the new EU members Bulgaria & Romania.

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