Private schemes and operators are playing a growing role in pension systems. This trend is likely to intensify in future years as governments come to face the consequences of ageing populations on their public pension systems. Already in most OECD countries private schemes play an important role as complements to the public system, whether in the form of occupational or personal pension plans.
The Insurance Committee has discussed private pensions issues for years. This is not surprising in consideration of the role of insurance companies in the second and third pillars. Recently, the Committee decided to strengthen substantially its work in this area. In this respect, a new Working Party composed from regulatory and supervisory authorities in charge of private pensions, as well as representatives from the pensions industry, was created in 1998.
A huge programme of work was approved in June 1999. The OECD is expected to considerably expand its activities in the private pensions field, thanks also to several voluntary contributions provided by Member countries. The Group of governmental experts on insurance solvency will supplement this work with an analysis of related solvency systems. The Joint group CMIT/Insurance Committee also recently addressed the issue of investment abroad by insurance companies and pension funds.
The Working Party on private pensions will conduct its work in close co-operation with:
the Committee on Financial Markets through a follow-up project "pension reform and financial markets" launched in relation with the OECD horizontal project on ageing populations.
the Directorate for Education, Employment, Labour and Social Affairs, which whom a Joint project on "retirement income systems" is ongoing.
The Working Party has also undertaken policy dialogue with Non-Member countries on private pension issues. As part of this effort, the First OECD Forum on Private Pensions was organised in Prague in April 2000. At this occasion, representatives from regulatory agencies and relevant ministries from member and non-member countries participating in the meeting agreed to establish an International Network of Pensions Regulators and Supervisors. The aim of this Network will be to serve as a forum for policy dialogue and cooperation on regulatory and financial issues related to pensions.