An investigation, commissioned by SURA Asset Management, produces alternate ways to bolster the region´s pension systems
Uruguay, Tuesday May 19, 2015 - A team of leading economists of different nationalities conducted a review of the pension systems belonging to six Latin American countries that introduced reforms to such in the 80's and 90's. This study, entitled "How to Strengthen the Latin American Pension Systems" was commissioned by SURA Asset Management for the purpose of identifying other ways of bolstering this system in years to come. This study, based on the experience obtained in Uruguay, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru and El Salvador , was presented today in Uruguay, by Andrés Castro , CEO of SURA Asset Management for Latin America, together with the study´s coordinator Rodrigo Acuña , who also carried out this investigation in Chile, El Salvador and Uruguay. The main conclusion arrived at with this study was the need for integrating the different pillars that make up the different pension systems as a way to strengthen the potential of individual capitalization programs. "Our intention is to find appropriate ways to achieve better replacement rates, so that our pension fund members receive adequate pensions at the end of their working lives," said Mr. Castro. According to this research, the solutions arrived at involve implementing a set of measures on the one hand and, on the other, perfecting the design and operating performance as well as driving the results and complementarity of the various pillars of the different Latin American pension systems, so as to improve the information, education and advisory services received by pension fund members. In this regard, there is a need for members to understand how the system works, so that they may form reasonable pension expectations and, in this way, through their savings decisions, actively help in fulfilling the replacement rate goals. This publication also includes information on different experiences applied in other countries, including non-contributory programs in some European countries belonging to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) as well as the voluntary savings plans in the UK, USA and New Zealand. This report can be found on the following website: http://www.sura-am.com/es/Publicaciones/Estudio-de-Pensiones-2014-Tomo-I.pdf Challenges for Uruguay The study shows that this particular country faces significant challenges in the following three areas: - Investments The local capital markets need to be further developed and Pension Funds require more flexibility in investing abroad. Besides improving the diversification of their portfolios, which are highly concentrated in government bonds, it would also give them the possibility of producing higher returns for their fund members. This in turn, would allow for more fund members to be enrolled in the Mixed Pension System, without them having to go back to the ´pay as you go pension" scheme, by reducing the tax burden and freeing up resources that the State could allocate for other purposes. - Voluntary savings Voluntary savings need to be encouraged so that fund members could improve their income during the payout stage. For this, existing tax incentives should be reviewed and the range of products offered must be extended to include different investment alternatives, which could also be cashed in under certain circumstances. - Insurance Disability and survivors insurance and the only annuity product offered must be reviewed since these are allowing other competitors to come onto the market. At the same time, the pension system´s reserve capital must be separated from those of other branches of insurance, since an insurance company does not have the same obligations as a pension fund firm. This would allow for the corresponding risks to be more adequately grouped together. This study, including its recommendations for improving the region´s pension systems has been made available on the following website: http://www.sura-am.com/es/Publicaciones/Estudio-de-Pensiones-2014-Tomo-I.pdf About SURA Asset Management SURA Asset Management is a Latin American Company, operating in the Pension, Savings and Investment sectors in Mexico, Peru, Chile, Colombia, Uruguay and El Salvador. Besides being a subsidiary of Grupo SURA, the Company has six minority shareholders, namely, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), member of the World Bank Group, Grupo Bolívar, Bancolombia, the International Equity Firm, General Atlantic, JP Morgan and the Grupo Wiese. SURA Asset Management attends a total of 17 million clients. SURA Asset Management is the largest management firm of non-banking financial assets in the region, with a 23.3%* share of the pension market and another 8.3%* share of the savings sector, where it currently holds third place. On the other hand, and with regard to the previous year´s results, the firm´s voluntary savings business showed a 22.4% growth in Assets under Management for 2014. About Grupo SURA Grupo de Inversiones Suramericana –GRUPO SURA, the parent company of the SURA Business Group, is a Latin American company listed on the Colombian Stock Exchange and registered with the ADR- Level 1 program in the United States. It is also the only Latin American company from the Diversified Financial Service Sector to be admitted to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI), which tracks companies who have become global benchmarks thanks to the best practices they have adopted from the economic, environmental and social standpoints. GRUPO SURA has two fields of investment: its core strategic interests in the financial service, insurance, pension, savings and investment sectors; as well as its industrial interests mainly in the processed food, cement and energy sectors. About SURA Asset Management Uruguay SURA Asset Management Uruguay has two companies: AFAP SURA, which is the second largest pension fund firm in terms of membership and managed funds as well as AFISA SURA, the only investment fund manager that manages public offering local publicly offered funds duly authorized by the Uruguayan Central Bank (BCU).