Russians see benefits of private pensions

The private pension market in Russia is growing rapidly. Market analysts forecast that in the next seven years almost half of the country’s working population will transfer their pension savings from state-run companies to private fund managers.

In the first quarter of 2008, the number of pension contracts Russians signed with commercial pension funds tripled compared to last year.

Despite the pension reforms of 2002, which allowed people to entrust their pensions to non-governmental organisations, the majority of Russians still look to the state. Currently, the Russian Development Bank holds more than 90 per cent of people’s pension contributions.

The painful experiences of the early 1990s and the 1998 default, when even solid banks lost people’s money, have made Russians cautious about investing in commercial funds.  
Now it looks like more people are becoming aware of the attraction of non-governmental funds.

Stalfund was launched as a corporate pension fund for the steel giant Severstal employees. Soon after, the fund reached out to the wider market and now has more than 200,000 clients.  

Nerijus Zaksauskas, Stalfund’s marketing director, says the pension group has a clear vision of how the market should develop.
“It’s very important to be open, professional and transparent. And Stalfund has achieved that. We are one of the few who have full transparency of our portfolio,” he said.