BELGIUM - Subscriptions to Belgium's third pillar pensions have reportedly swollen following a government reform, which increased the amount people can save without being taxed from e650 to e780.
The measure, passed by parliament in November, is believed to have prompted individuals to review their mode of pension savings. In Belgium, a third pillar pension can be run alongside a second or first pillar pension.
“Most of the Belgian retail banks have seen massive inflows into those funds,” said Jan Longeval, chairman of the Executive Committee of Degroof Institutional Asset Management (DiAM).
“The Generation Pact [a controversial package of pensions reforms passed by parliament in December] and the strikes that we have had has put pensions on the agenda of many people.
“There is increased awareness across the population that people should start saving for their own pensions.”
Peter De Proft (pictured), CEO of Fortis Investment Management in Belgium, agreed that there had been massive inflows. “Absolutely, we saw massive subscriptions,” he said.
“It started happening at the end of October and was spurred on by the fact that we knew the law was going to be voted on, so financial institutions said to their customers they could subscribe at the end of the year at the new amount.”
But De Proft said the influx was not connected to the strikes in Belgium, which were held to protest against the Generation Pact’s reform to the minimum retirement age.
“It has nothing to do with it,” he said. “In Belgium a measure has always been very interesting when there was a tax deductibility”, he added.
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