Funded and private pensions

Pension funds achieve high returns in most OECD countries in 2012


Pension Markets in Focus

06/11/2013 - Pension fund assets achieved high returns in almost all OECD countries in 2012, with a real return greater than 5% in 18 countries, according to the 2013 edition of Pension Markets in Focus.

All institutional investors in the OECD, including investment funds, insurance companies, pension funds and other entities, experienced growth of their assets in 2012. Institutional investors totalled USD 78.2 trillion in 2012, with USD 30.0 trillion coming from investment funds, USD 24.5 trillion from insurance companies, USD 21.8 trillion from pension funds and USD 1.9 trillion from other investors. In 2012, pension funds confirmed their growing prominence among institutional investors, with a market share of 28% in terms of total assets held by institutional investors. This share has increased slowly but steadily since 2008 (from 25.7% in 2008 to, 25.8% in 2009, 26.6% in 2010, and 27.4% in 2011).

Pension fund assets exhibited an average annual growth rate of 7.4% over the period 2009-12. This average annual growth rate between 2009 and 2012 outperformed those observed for insurance companies (3.4% over the same period) and investment funds (3.8%) for which assets slightly declined between 2010 and 2011.

Private pension assets in the OECD totalled USD 32.1 trillion in 2012, of which 67.9% were pension funds (USD 21.8 trillion), followed by bank and investment companies managed funds (USD 5.9 trillion, or 18.5% of total assets), pension insurance contracts (USD 4.1 trillion, or 12.8%) and book reserve plans (USD 0.2 trillion, or 0.8%). In 2012, pension fund assets exceeded 90% of total assets in the funded pension system in Australia, Chile, the Czech Republic, Finland, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Portugal and the Slovak Republic.

In absolute terms, the United States still owned the majority of assets under management of all the OECD countries, with assets worth USD 11.6 trillion in 2012. In relative terms, however, the weight of assets held by pension funds in the US shrank from 67.6% in 2001 to 53.4% in 2012.

Other countries with large pension fund systems include the United Kingdom with assets in 2012 worth USD 2.3 trillion and a share of 11% of OECD pension fund market; Japan, with USD 1.4 trillion (6.7%); Australia with USD 1.4 trillion (6.3%); the Netherlands with USD 1.3 trillion (5.8%); Canada with USD 1.2 trillion (5.5%); Switzerland with USD 0.7 trillion (3.4%).

For comment or further information, journalists should contact Jean-Marc Salou of the OECD’s Financial Affairs division (tel. + 33 1 45 24 91 10).

>> Pension Markets in Focus 2013 (pdf)

>> Accompanying statistical annex (xls)

>> Resumé en français (pdf)

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