ArmInfo. On Feb 7, the National Assembly of Armenia completed the discussions on the draft amendments to the Law "On Compulsory Funded Pension" in the first reading. The voting on the draft law will be held on Feb 8.
Deputy Chairman of the Central Bank of Armenia Nerses Yeritsyan said that the draft amendments aim to enhance the efficiency of the compulsory funded pension system management and to increase its transparency. In particular, the draft law regulates the process of compensating for the damage received by the participants of the pension funds. It also expands and toughens the responsibilities of the managers of these funds. The persons with high incomes, who have already made sure of the efficiency of the funded pension system, are allowed to voluntarily continue their participation in the system by paying 10% of their salaries (otherwise, the current 5% rate will be applied). The managers of the funds will get an opportunity to invest 10% (versus the current 2%) of all assets in venture and private funds. This will make it possible to finance the highly-productive sectors of industry. The draft law also envisages enhancement of transparency of the funds. At present, an individual has an opportunity to apply to the funds for accountability once a year. Under the amendments, it is possible to apply for annual reports at any moment via electronic means. In addition, the citizens of Armenia, who participate in foreign funded pension funds will be able to transfer their money to the funds in Armenia and to manage them.
Earlier, ArmInfo reported, citing the Central Bank that within mandatory funded pension system the number of participants of the two pension funds-C-QUADRAT Ampega Asset Management Armenia and Amundi-ACBA- Asset-Management reached 155 thousand people by November 1, 2016. 65 thousand of them are representatives of state sector and remaining 90 thousand of private sector. The press-service of the Armenia's Central Bank has told ArmInfo that from the moment of creation of these two funds (November 2013) their yield has reached 25.9% (the cost of one common share has grew from 1000 to 1259 drams). For the 10 months of 2016 yield of the pension funds totaled annual average 14.4%. According to the source, as of November 1 2016 the abovementioned funds accumulated 57.2 bln drams, 29% of which or 17 bln drams are deposits in banks, 5% or 2.8 bln are invested in bonds of corporate, mortgage and international organizations, 41% or 23.3 bln in state bonds, 25% or 14.1 bln in securities of foreign investment funds (ETF - Exchanged traded funds, including stocks of such companies as Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nestle, Toyota, Nissan, Sony, Coca-Cola etc., as well as US state bonds and Gold mining fund securities). HayPost, Araratbank, Ardshinbank, HSBC Bank (Armenia), INECOBANK, Converse Bank, Armbusinessbank and VTB Bank (Armenia) are pension account operators. Citizens can receive information about the funds on their account via epension.am website, identification card, as well as through ATMs of ArCa network.
To note, in November 2013 the Armenian Central Bank (CB) registered the pension funds C-QUADRAT Ampega Asset Management Armenia and Amundi-ACBA- Asset- Management. The shareholders of Amundi- ACBA Asset Management Armenia CJSC (registered by CB of Armenia on 19 November) are Amundi Asset Management with 51% shares and ACBA-Credit Agricole Bank with 49% shares. French Amundi manages $5 trillion assets. "C-QUADRAT Ampega Asset Management Armenia" received the CB license on 29 November 2013. 74.9% shares of "C-QUADRAT Ampega Asset Management Armenia" are owned by C- QUADRAT Investment and 25.1% by German Talanx Asset Management GmbH. The group manages $130 bln assets.
These companies offer three strategies of investment: fixed yield pension fund (FIX), conservative pension fund (CON) and Balanced pension fund (BAL). The customers are free to choose one of the given strategies. In particular, the pension fund with sustainable income implies investments of the 100% package of a customer in the debt obligations with fixed yield (government bonds and deposits of highly reliable banks) to avoid risks. The conservative fund implies investment of 75% of a customer package in the debt obligations with fixed yield and the remaining 25% in equity securities (shares). Unlike the first two funds, the balanced fund implies equal distribution of funds (50%/50%) in the debt obligations with fixed yield and shares where a beneficiary must know about the risk connected with fall of stock prices depending on the market condition and the state of the emitter- company.
To recall, the compulsory accumulative pension system was introduced in Armenia on January 1 2014 and applies to the citizens born after Jan 1 1974. According to the new law on Accumulated pensions, the minimal pension in the country will be equal to the minimum wage, while the basic pension will total 150% of the minimum wage. Starting Jan 1 2014, 5% of citizens' salaries have been transferred to their personal accumulative accounts. The government will transfer a similar amount (but no more than 25,000 drams).