The Chamber of Deputies’ Speaker, Social Democratic Party (PSD) national leader Liviu Dragnea on Wednesday night said that “the scandal” generated by the letter issued by NN company is in fact “a fake” started from the President of the Financial Supervisory Authority (ASF), Misu Negritoiu, and the Romanian Government should ask for explanations from the Dutch Embassy in Bucharest and the ING heads in Romania.
“As far as this scandal is concerned, in fact a fake about the nationalisation of the private pensions, this is started from Mr. Misu Negritoiu, who is the President of the ASF, who knows very well that shortly the Parliament will sack the entire management of the ASF because what is happening there is very serious and the ones who suffer are the Romanian clients and the Romanian insured. On the other hand, I believe that the Romanian Government should ask for explanations from the Dutch Embassy and the Dutch Government and the ING management in the Netherlands because what this insurance company did in Romania perhaps they could have done (…) in a former Dutch colony. Such thing is not allowed in Romania,” said Dragnea at the private broadcaster Antena 3.
He stressed that the Dutch could be “mad at the corvettes”, but added that what the NN company did is “forbidden” because “such information could lead to the collapse of a system.”
Adrian Dobre: PSD not planning to nationalise private pension system, that’s just “fake news”
PSD Spokesperson Adrian Dobre claimed, in a press release, that the Social Democrats are not planning to nationalise the Romanian private pension system, this being just “fake news” and “an irresponsible action” that creates “unjustified” tensions.
“PSD categorically refutes the allegation that the current parliamentary majority or the current Government intends to nationalise the Romanian private pension system. This is fake news and has already been refuted by the Finance Minister and the Labour Minister,” Adrian Dobre emphasised.
The Social Democrat added that “such a measure is not included in the platform that PSD presented during the elections campaign either, nor in the governance platform that the Grindeanu Government undertook and the Romanian Parliament approved.”
“On the contrary, as a ruling party, PSD wants to develop a partnership with the business sector and considers that private pensions represent an important pillar of the Romanian social security system,” he added.
According to the PSD Spokesperson, the Social Democrats consider that “the spreading of false information regarding such topics is an irresponsible action that creates unjustified tensions and sparks concern among the beneficiaries of the private pension system.”
The NN Pension Fund has informed the clients whose mandatory private pensions it manages that in recent weeks there has been public talk of a possible decision to nationalise private pension funds and recommended them to seek information on the market context.
The nationalisation of private pensions was recently mentioned by PNL First Vice President Catalin Predoiu and vehemently denied by the Finance Minister, who called it an “aberration.” “I haven’t heard a bigger aberration than this. On the contrary, and I’ve conveyed messages in this sense, the public pension fund, Pillar I, is undergoing a process of consolidation. So, state budget transfers toward the public pension pillar are on a downward trend. So this is a very good signal, the developments are very good, so there is absolutely no reason to talk about nationalising Pillar II,” the Finance Minister said.
Senator Teodorovici: Viorel Stefan will come up with a clarification, otherwise we’ll summon him to Parliament
Social Democrat Senator Eugen Teodorovici, Chairman of the Budget-Finances Committee, stated on Wednesday, at the Palace of Parliament, that unless Finance Minister Viorel Stefan clarifies the issue, he would have to be summoned before the committee, because it is “dangerous” to allow such rumours to float around without refuting them.
“Unless Finance Minister Viorel Stefan clarifies this issue today or tomorrow, I believe next week the members of the Budget-Finances Committee should invite the minister before the committee because, nevertheless, it’s dangerous to allow such rumours to float around without refuting them. Or if he does harbour such views, he should say it very clearly, we must all know what the Finance Ministry’s view is,” Eugen Teodorovici pointed out when asked whether he considers summoning Viorel Stefan before the committee to discuss about the nationalisation of Pillar II.
The Social Democrat Senator pointed out that the discussion about pensions is a “false one.”
“In my view, this is not possible. It’s just a piece of false information and I was expecting those who launched such an information to ask the Finance Minister for a point of view and to ask what is the Finance Ministry’s strategy in this field,” the Social Democrat added.
FinMin Stefan says rumours about Pillar II getting nationalised are groundless
Finance Minister Viorel Stefan says the rumours about the alleged intention of the Government to nationalise pension pillar II is groundless, adding that there is a no political, economic, financial or budgetary reason for such a decision.
“The rumour has no substance whatsoever. There is no political, economic, financial or budgetary reason for such a decision, which is completely absurd, regarding the pension pillar II. Pillar II is a successful financial plan. The fund administrators are getting excellent returns on investment, and the number of contributors to the plan is quickly nearing seven million,” Stefan said at the beginning of a governmental meeting on Wednesday after Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu asked him to provide explanations about public rumours regarding the nationalisation of Pillar II pension plans.
Stefan added that Pillar II pension plans are getting stronger and stronger by the year even though transfers from the public pension fund to the privately managed pillar have stayed at 5.1 percent since 2016.
“As a result of an increase in the number of contributors because of job creation, the fund will get a surplus of 1.3 – 1.4 billion lei, which shows that it is consolidating, it is running well, and ensures that when the first generations draw pensions form this pillar those pensions will be sizeable in addition to the public pensions,” said Stefan.
He added that he held consultations with the Financial Oversight Authority (ASF) because spreading such misinformation could negatively impact the fund’s investments in financial markets.
“That is why ASF promised me that it will hold consultations today with the fund’s administrators to clarify and shoot down the rumours once and for all. So, there is no indication that anyone wants to nationalise pension pillar II,” said Stefan.
ASF’s Negritoiu: No need to discuss transformation of second pillar pensions
The transformation of the second pillar pension funds doesn’t even need to be discussed, declared on Tuesday evening, Misu Negritoiu, president of the Financial Supervisory Authority, at an event on the economy’s expectations for this year.
His statement followed the announcement of the NN pension fund, made on Tuesday, that it has informed its clients that in recent weeks there have been discussions in the public space on a possible intent of nationalization of the private pension funds.
NN Pensions: We appreciate that FinMin and ASF had a firm point of view
As a result of the reactions that appeared following the e-mail newsletter sent to the participants to the NN Privately-Managed Pension Fund (Pillar II), NN Pensions pointed out the following on Wednesday:
- The content of the newsletter that NN Pensions sent to its clients is exclusively informative and does not represent a warning. The need for this notification came in response to our clients’ requests for clarification, sparked by the recent public discussions about the future of the pension system.
- This notification came against the backdrop in which NN sends over 300,000 e-mails to its clients every month, containing information about the status of their individual pension accounts each time new sums are added, and approximately 1.9 million letters are issued to clients annually, analysing the developments registered in the previous year.
- We appreciate that, through their statements, both the Finance Ministry and the Financial Oversight Authority (ASF) had a firm point of view regarding their support for the private pension system. These statements are gladdening, even more so if we consider that the private pension funds’ contribution to supporting the development of the national economy can grow significantly.
- We reconfirm our commitment to serve the more than 1.9 million clients whose pension savings we are managing. That is why we distance ourselves from any political angle, irrespective of it, conferred to the message we sent to our clients on April 11.
- We point out we will continue to notify the wider public and especially our clients, through the communication means at our disposal, about the need to save and the options to save for retirement, the context of the markets we are present on and the evolution of the savings managed by us.