FRANCE - The pension system of the Banque de France (BdeF) has been condemned by the Cour de Comptes, a body which oversees the management of France's public sector organisations.
Without specifying any details, the Cour de Comptes said reform of the pension system of the Banque de France, in line with other public pensions systems, could not be delayed any longer: “The reform should combine a longer period of contribution, which should rise to 40 years, and a lengthening of the reference period to 25 years.”
The Banque de France pension regime falls outside the 2003 public sector pension reform, which increased the period of contribution required from public sector employees in order to earn a full pension.
Employees of the BdeF enjoy a privileged position by comparison with their public sector colleagues, paying lower contributions over a shorter period. BdeF officials also enjoy a system of so-called “bénévolences”, an extra pension payment to which employees are entitled, but to which they make no contributions.
The charge, therefore, falls entirely to the BdeF to finance. Between 1997 and 2002, the amount of complementary pensions paid out by the bank without a contribution from employees rose from e98.3bn to e106.1bn.
Also BdeF employees contribute only for a period of 37.5 years, compared with the reformed public sector regime of 40 years from 2008, rising to 41 years in 2012.
Sauvegarde des Retraites, an organisation lobbying for equality between public and private sector pensions, expects the regime to be transferred to the regular system which pays retirement benefits for most people in France.
But Marie-Laure Dufreche, head of Sauvegarde Retraites, is opposed to this solution because of the cost to taxpayers: “At the moment the pension regime of the Banque de France is paid only by the Banque de France and the government doesn't pay any subsidy for that, which is the difference with other ‘régimes spéciaux’ [for the public sector].
“But it is going to happen because this pension regime costs the Banque de France a lot of money. People working there have a lot of privileges and very soon the Banque will not be able to pay any more.
“Whatever the solution chosen for the Banque de France, the main thing is that new recruits do not enjoy the same advantages as those accorded to existing workers.”
A transfer to the regular system is what happened with the pension regime of Electricité de France (EdF). This left a black hole of deficit to be financed by taxpayers.
“The reserve for EdF was e19bn while the unfunded liabilities amounted to e76bn,” added Dufreche.
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