Pension fund

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In international parlance, a pension fund is a special fund that is organisationally outsourced by the employer for the purpose of financing the company pension scheme for employees. In the United States, the first American Express company pension fund was established in 1875. The companies referred to as pension funds in Germany deviate significantly from this.


The special fund can be legally owned by the employer or have its own legal personality . In the latter case, the pension fund can also be used by several employers. In that case, the pension funds are often in direct competition with one another and with other investment opportunities. Often, employers can readily withdraw the assets invested from one pension fund and transfer it to another. Employees often have direct claims against the pension fund, but only to the extent that the pension fund has assets at its disposal. Pension funds usually only provide guarantees for certain benefits, as they are issued by insurers , in the form of a guaranteed minimum payment or - in the case of a performance-based commitment by the employer - in the amount of the commitment, whereby the employer has an obligation to make additional contributions. This occurs above all if the fund has only achieved an insufficiently high return or has incurred losses due to capital market fluctuations.

Fields of activity


Because of the large and long-term accumulation of assets, pension funds are important investors in the international capital markets. Competition, in particular the possibility of transferring assets from one pension fund to another at any time, forces them to pursue rather short-term interest in returns . The establishment of pension funds means that more and more people's savings are flowing into the capital markets. Because of the often high level of reallocation of capital investments by pension funds solely on the basis of short-term interest in returns, there are now and again significant influences on the capital markets.

Morgan Stanley estimates (quoted in The Economist in early 2008) that pension funds hold $ 20 trillion in assets around the world, outperforming all other investors such as insurance, currency reserves, hedge funds and asset management. Internationally significant pension funds can be found in Japan, the USA, Canada and the Netherlands.

The world's largest pension funds are:

  • Government Pension Investment Fund ( Nenkin Tsumitatekin Kanri Unyo Dokuritsu ), Japan : US $ 1,347 billion (2012)
  • Statens pensjonsfond , Norway: US $ 865 billion (2017)
  • Algemeen Burgerlijk Pensioenfonds (ABP), state pension fund of the Netherlands: US $ 384 billion (2016)
  • California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS), funded pension fund for 1.6 million active or retired state employees in California : $ 362 billion (2019)
  • Federal Employee Pension Fund: $ 211 billion
  • National Pension Service (NPS); Korea: US $ 190 billion
  • Community Employee Pension Fund, Japan: $ 176 billion
  • Post Pension Fund, Taiwan: $ 154 billion
  • California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS): $ 147 billion
  • New York State Employee Pension Fund: $ 138 billion
  • Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), Canada : 368 500 000 000 Canadian dollars (2018)
  • Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec , Canada: 309.5 billion Canadian dollars (2018)
  • Vanuatu National Provident Fund, Vanuatu
  • Fiji National Provident Fund

Importance for old-age provision

See also


  • Simone Evke de Groot: The German pension fund as an instrument of company pension provision in the field of tension between company pension and insurance law , Beck, Munich 2010, ISBN 978-3-406-59305-5 . (At the same time: Dissertation at Bielefeld University, 2008).
  • Peter Hanau: Conversion of remuneration: direct insurance, direct commitment, support fund, pension fund, pension fund , O. Schmidt, Cologne 2006, ISBN 3-504-42046-4 .
  • Muhammed Altuntas: German Pension Funds: An Empirical Analysis of Business Strategies and the Characteristics of Pension Plans , Gabler, Wiesbaden 2008, ISBN 978-3-8349-1348-7 .

Individual evidence

  1. Pension funds in the USA, an analysis by IG Metall from 2001 (accessed on July 18, 2009)
  2. Isn't it more the case that the investment strategy aims at long-term, secure interest rates? z. B. risklab study 2010  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /  
  3. ^ The Economist January 17, 2008 (
  4. Investment results PDF ( Memento of the original from March 4, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Government Pension Investment Fund, accessed November 6, 2012 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  5. ABP | Pension fund for overheid and onderwijs. Retrieved May 3, 2019 .
  6. ^ Willis Towers Watson: Top pension fund assets fall for the first time since the global financial crisis. September 5, 2016. Retrieved May 3, 2019 (UK English).
  7. CalPERS Investment Fund Values. January 5, 2019; Retrieved May 3, 2019 (American English).
  9. cdpq: Investments. December 31, 2018, accessed May 3, 2019 .
  10. ^ Vanuatu National Provident Fund
  11. 2006 Annual Report as PDF Fiji National Provident Fund ( Memento of the original from July 19, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /