Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Pension guarantees considered subtle

The negotiations about the PFRDA Bill, which are presently underway, are reportedly discussing guarantees gifted by the government to NPS participants.

Many years ago, when US-64 was fresh on our minds, I used to think that keeping government out of such obligations was a no-brainer. It is too easy for a political process to come up with a plausible-sounding guarantee, which is actually horribly expensive a few years down the line. The best example of this is the European DB pension systems.

In 2001 and 2002, when the early work on translating the Project OASIS report into the NPS was being done at DEA, Robert Palacios anticipated that discussions about pension guarantees would surely come up, and that a thorough analysis of guarantees needs to be done well ahead of time. He pushed me into thinking about the subject. I used this off-the-shelf knowledge to write an article titled Pension Guarantees are Subtle in Business Standard today.

The EPW article I talk about is: Investment risk in the Indian pension sector and the role for pension guarantees, EPW, 2003, pdf. In addition, I have worked further on the tools for analysing pension guarantees link.

Coincidentally, Gautam Bhardwaj is also in Business Standard today, in a debate about pension fund investment into the stock market. The other side is by a M. K. Pandhe, who seems to have the bulk of his facts wrong.

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