Defining the Direction of Defined Contribution in Europe

The shift towards defined contribution (DC) schemes has not been impeded by the financial crisis – if anything it has been accelerated. The insight is one of the many offered in an survey of leading pension experts conducted by Allianz Global Investors. With the exception of the Dutch, the majority expect DC schemes to dominate future occupational pensions markets with cost calculability rather than cost cutting being the key driver. Read more in the survey.

One of the most important developments in the retirement landscape over the past years is the global trend away from defined benefit (DB) plans towards defined contribution (DC) plans. This shift has taken many different forms and shapes around the world and is having an immense impact on public policy, the retirement industry, and the retirement income security of future retirees. In western Europe, where defined benefit plans have traditionally dominated pension markets, occupational defined contribution plans have also seen a strong upswing. However, the change is multifaceted, its scope varies from country to country, and its future direction is uncertain.

Given the ongoing transformation described above, the intention of this survey is to contribute to a better understanding of current trends; its primary focus is on the expected future evolution of DC in Europe. As the future is notoriously difficult to predict, we invited pension experts to share their views on how they expect the retirement landscape to develop. The theory here is that by drawing on the profound insights and expertise of the survey participants, a solid and well-founded snapshot will emerge of what we are likely to see in the future.

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