Poland Nationalizes Retirement Accounts

Posted at 8:30 AM (CST) by & filed under General Editorial.

Dear CIGAs,

I want to be absolutely sure that you have read this article:

Nationalization of retirement Account just occurred in Poland. It is shocking in that it has no compensation so far in this watershed event. Note how it is spun as an OVERHAUL of the retirement system.

Poland reduces public debt through pension funds overhaul 
Wed Sep 4, 2013 12:56pm EDT 
By Dagmara Leszkowicz and Chris Borowski

* Reform moves bond assets from private to state fund 
* Some equity assets to gradually move to state as well 
* Changes seen reducing Polish public debt by 8 pct of GDP 
* Funds say moves could be unconstitutional 
* Warnings that private pension funds could be wiped out

WARSAW, Sept 4 (Reuters) – Poland said on Wednesday it will transfer to the state many of the assets held by private pension funds, slashing public debt but putting in doubt the future of the multi-billion-euro funds, many of them foreign-owned.

The changes went deeper than many in the market expected and could fuel investor concerns that the government is ditching some business-friendly policies to try to improve its flagging popularity with voters.

The Polish pension funds’ organisation said the changes may be unconstitutional because the government is taking private assets away from them without offering any compensation.

Announcing the long-awaited overhaul of state-guaranteed pensions, Prime Minister Donald Tusk said private funds within the state-guaranteed system would have their bond holdings transferred to a state pension vehicle, but keep their equity holdings.

He said that what remained in citizens’ pension pots in the private funds will be gradually transferred into the state vehicle over the last 10 years before savers hit retirement age.

The reform is "a decimation of the …(private pension fund) system to open up fiscal space for an easier life now for the government," said Peter Attard Montalto of Nomura. "The government has an odd definition of private property given it claims this is not nationalisation."

Tusk said people joining the pension system in the future would not be obliged to pay into the private part of the system. Depending on the finer points, this could mean still fewer assets in the private funds.