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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Denmark has best pension system; China, India, Japan among worst - survey

(Reuters) - Denmark has the world's best pension system, followed by Australia and the Netherlands, while China, India, Japan and South Korea fare among the worst, a survey by consultants Mercer released on Monday showed.
The United States scored a C, with 57.9 out of 100 points, in the Global Pensions Index of 25 countries, on par with France, Poland and South Africa.
The top three scorers retained their positions from 2013, with 82.4 for Denmark, 79.9 for Australia, and 79.2 for the Netherlands. The rankings are based on factors such as adequacy, sustainability and integrity of the retirement income system.(
Britain ranked ninth, below Sweden, Canada and Chile, the annual survey showed.
China, India, Indonesia and South Korea fared among the worst, with scores of 35 to 50, as their retirement income systems are in the early stages of development.
Britain's plan to abolish a 55 percent tax levied on pension savings is likely to hurt the country's global pension ranking next year, Mercer said.
Britain improved its ranking this year, with a score of 67.6 versus 65.4 in 2013, helped by "higher contributions through the continued introduction of auto enrolment," Mercer said.
"The results highlight that introducing mandatory auto-enrolment can contribute to the UK's efforts in ensuring an adequate and sustainable retirement system," said Deborah Cooper, partner at Mercer.
Citing proposals by UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, Mercer cautioned that radical reforms to abolish restrictions on accessing pension savings before the age of 55 would "likely negatively impact on the UK score next year."
Osborne caught Britain's pensions industry by surprise in March when he said he would scrap a rule forcing many people to buy an annuity, a financial product which converts a retiree's pension pot into a guaranteed income. [ID:nL6N0M72RG]
As of April, people will also face much less of a tax penalty if they access their pension savings early at the age of 55. [ID:nL6N0PW11J]
The study is published by the Australian Centre for Financial Studies (ACFS) in conjunction with Mercer and is funded by the Victorian State Government.

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