Title of the Study: PENSION SYSTEM IN THE PHILIPPINES
Traditionally, pension systems aim to fulfill a number of functions which include income security and consumption smoothing in old age, as well as income redistribution. The main rationale for pension reform lies in the interaction between current demographic trends (e.g. increasing old age dependency ratios) and the design of existing pension systems (particularly, the so called Pay-As-You-Go public systems). Under certain conditions, population aging can in fact undermine the ability of a pension system to fulfill those very aims for which it was created, putting pensioners at risks of higher poverty and inequality, besides creating large fiscal pressures on governments and threaten economic growth. In the literature, we find two main approaches to this debate. On the one hand, economic theory helps us formalize the mechanisms through which aging affects a pension system, given its possible features (e.g. type of benefit offered, degree of actuarial fairness or type of financing); it also helps us quantify costs or returns associated to different pension designs and, consequently, to different pension reform options. On the other hand, the policy debate is centered on models of reform which take from concrete country experiences; overall, it focuses mostly on whether funding pensions (i.e. privatizing and individualizing retirement savings, away from Pay-As-You-Go systems) is the best option for reducing many of the negative economic impacts associated to population aging. After having illustrated both sides of the debate – the theoretical and the empirical - our paper makes two main claims. Firstly, the debate should be re-framed away from whether funding is the best option for pension reform in the face of population aging, towards a redefinition of the problem which rather focus on the type of benefit offered, its coverage, its eligibility conditions and actuarial design (as this controls important behavioral and efficiency implications). Secondly, and relatedly, the final impact of a given pension system or reform on future economic variables (i.e. growth, poverty, inequality, financial sustainability) cannot be inferred only by using the tools of economic theory, or the lessons of policy experience. Rather, it requires the ability to quantify the net effects of several interacting explanatory levels, such as country-specific demographic, economic and institutional trends. To this end, we propose the adoption of micro simulation modeling as a well-suited methodology for shedding more light on this important policy debate. III.
The pension fund industry in the Philippines has been essentially founded on a tax law when, in 1967, the Philippine Congress enacted Republic Act (RA) 4917 which provides tax exempt treatment of the retirement benefits voluntarily granted and designed by private firms for their officer and employees. This was later supplemented by Presidential Decree 442 issued in 1974. The latter law embodies the labor code of the Philippines, one section of which, made mandatory the provision of a minimum retirement pay to employees of private business entities. These pension plans for the private sector cover defined benefit plans. The aforementioned provision of retirement benefit plans are further complemented by the mandatory social pension fund maintained by the Social Security System, a government entity tasked to manage the contributions made by private entities to pay the retirement benefits of their employees. Since the late 1980s, there has been a proliferation of pre-need companies which offer hybrid pension plans to investors who are made to pay the agreed contributions in order to enjoy the promised pre-defined benefits. In all of the above, the local pension fund industry has not been spared by the intensified challenge of managing the funds’ assets to meet their future liabilities. The same has been put...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document