Group of European Pensioners from Savings Banks and Financial Institutions


Index of documents > Euromeetings Magazine > Euromeetings Number 13



During the 2008 Euromeeting held in Albufeira (Portugal) we invited an important representant: the President of the SPK (Sweedish Saving Banks Pension Funds) committee, Mr. Göran Coller. He made a very interesting speech entitled “Something about the issue of pensions”. Our vice-president for Sweeden, Wilhelm Lemchen, introduced him to the assembly.

Mr. Coller began his speech with those words: Initially I believe that those of us here today belong to a comparatively privileged circle. We enjoy reasonable occupational pensions to the day we hand in the towel after a long life in a fairly protected world – the financial sector.” Then he added that “the level of pensions in the future may be difficult to maintain and that is perhaps the most important matter, many issues must be taken into account and managed if our surviving family members are not to experience major problems in their old age.”


The size of a pension is, at least in theory, depends on:


a) length of life,

b) number of years worked,

c) the amount of money set aside for pension and how these funds have been managed over time

d) the purchasing power of pensions in relationship to pension development is also decisive.


Every year those who are covered by the new system – i.e. those born in 1938 or later – receive an orange envelope which states how much pension the individual can expect. At a stroke this information has made many (although unfortunately not enough) people aware that the national old age pension cannot possibly cover reasonable needs and that the individual themselves must – to a much greater degree – save towards their own pension, and that even with this contribution it will be difficult to achieve a pension level that will fulfil requirements.”


The defined benefit system for occupational pensions is successively being abandoned in favour of the premium system. This trend is very clear in Europe, where the UK leads the field.”



However as you all understand, uncertainty is considerable as to how much a pension will actually be. What remains however is that, according to the Occupational Pension Directive introduced by EU, all inflation risk is loaded onto the pensioners with defined benefit pensions, which is why I myself lean towards premium-based pensions as a sound development for the future with their opportunities for individuals to be able to take decisions on the management of their own capital.”


Set against the background of what I have previously mentioned, additional private pension solutions are essential for most people if pension levels are to be reasonable.”


“It really should lie in the interest of governments to facilitate private pension solutions when considering my previous comments on the limitations of the national old age pension system. Innovative thinking is required of politicians within this area.”


With increasingly high life expectancy, with a growing share of the population outside the labour market, with the national old age pension resting on annual production – pension issues are increasingly becoming serious political dynamite.”


So, what we can envisage for our children and grandchildren is a necessarily higher retirement age than today and that tomorrow’s pensions must, to a higher degree, be based on greater personal inputs.”


In practice this must lead to the consumption of the working generation being postponed in order to be consumed after retirement age.”


Neither must the “pay as you go” system be allowed to lead to some form of generation conflict so that the working part of the population is in discord with the non-working retired group.”


If we consider the demographics then a retirement age of perhaps 75 is not too far into the future. There are currently more than two people in the 15 to 64 age group for every one person outside this age bracket. However, as the number and proportion of the elderly grow - and are not compensated for by more young people filling up the ranks – this ratio will plummet to less than 1.5 people of working age by 2035 and figures will decline to 1.25 by 2050.”


He ended his speech by underlining that “savings of approximately 10 EUR per month from birth up until the age of 67 at 6% interest, accumulated, provides a pension of around EUR 700 per month between the ages of 67 and 87. Go home and pursue these issues!”


Once he concluded his speech, he answered some questions. Some of the participants disagreed with Mr. Coller's views. It was to be expected since the pension system and the situation in Sweeden are different from the situation in France, Italy, Spain and Portugal. This issue is quite important and the speech was very enriching, it is worth we all think about it.


Through our Euromeeting Report, we want to thank Mr. Göran Coller for his interesting and illuminating speech.