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Private pension fund members would have saved more with all govt securities

The Government Control Office (KEHI) has found in a review of private pension funds that members would have had HUF 700 billion more savings had all of their payments been invested in government securities in the 13 years since the funds were established, the government's pension protection commissioner Gabriella Selmeczi said at a press conference on Monday.

The Government Control Office (KEHI) is reviewing -- among other things -- private pension funds' operating costs and asset management fees and will present a report on the matter to Parliament, Selmeczi said.

Had members' retirement savings been put into government securities, their pension assets would have reached HUF 3,860 billion instead of HUF 3,160 billion, she said.

An average private pension member, who paid HUF 1.7 million into their fund over the 13 years would now have assets of HUF 2.5 million, instead of HUF 2.3m, she said.

Selmeczi called the HUF 150 billion private pension funds spent on operating costs over the 13 years a "horrible" amount.

 If private pension funds had not been established in 1998, Hungary's state debt would be just 70% of GDP, instead of the 80% it is now, she said. Selmeczi calculated that the equivalent of about 1% of GDP was paid into private pension funds each year.

If Hungary's state debt had been smaller, the country would have had to pay less interest, she said.

Hungarian private pension fund members had until the end of January to opt out of a move, together with their pension assets, to the state pension pillar. About 97% of private pension fund members decided to return to the state pillar.