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bombOpen letter 16/18/02/11

Private retirement provision

The growing provision deficit and reduction of the payment levels under German pension insurance is being increased even further by reduction of the amount of retirement provision by statutory pension insurance companies. This is happening due to the demographic factor and the expansion of the low-wage sector as a result of the Euro crisis.
Mini-jobs and temporary work, i.e. the lowest of the low-income classes, bring in hardly any payments to pension funds. However, so-called private provisions are supposed to remedy this, which are run by private pension insurers of commercial or company life insurance schemes or non-commercial pension funds in the form of mutual insurance associations or tax-subsidised Riester pensions also in the form of life insurance policies. Lastly, even the form of deferred compensation in commercial retirement provision or buying in to commercial retirement provision and via commercial retirement provision has also become a possibility. But whatever consultants and insurance salesmen like to say, every offer should be checked and carefully considered. Fundamentally however, the following applies:
Private insurance policies from life insurance companies and pension funds, whether commercial or non-commercial, i.e. mutual insurance associations, including Riester pensions on the basis of life insurance, will in future bring in less than they appeared to bring in when the policies were originally taken out. The provision gap therefore continues to widen.
Originally, life insurance policies and also mutual insurance associations were regarded as being stable in value, because they were considered by means of the Insurance Supervision Act as investments, which alternatively prescribe investments whose coverage can be increased. These were to consist in particular of so-called gilt-edged stocks, i.e. bonds as debt securities, such as government bonds, for example. Life insurers were considered as a prop for the economy and were at the same time delivered up to the state, because life insurers also held government bonds of indebted countries, which had been sold by the insurance providers as gilt-edged.
This gilt-edged property of the investments, for which percentage limits are laid down in the Insurance Supervision Act, which were partly increased particularly with regard to the quota of shares, in order to allow a certain greater commercial involvement for companies of the life insurers, are considered as being secure against insolvency, with their range of investments on a legal basis, and against the fact of an insolvency liability obligation, e.g. of the payments under the company retirement provision through the “Pensionssicherungsverein AG (Köln)”, for which then contributions of the businesses would also have to be deducted, because they in particular could not be assumed to have this security against insolvency from the point of view of the investment portfolio as the providers of life insurance policies had offered on the prevailing legal basis. This insurance business therefore was not trustworthy, although it was considered to be so, and is still not so any longer, since the security of the investments could not and cannot be ensured. The financial markets, which can be equated to the national budget, have therefore devalued their bonds, and thereby deceived those who purchased them. But since there were still some people who purchased government bonds, greedy financial sharks acted with the good faith of investors and completely undermined the public finances, which had long since lost any equivalent value. This also happened in Germany, even though government bonds were promoted as investments by insurance companies of all types, managed and held under the investment portfolio of the Insurance Supervision Act. Financial jugglers even succeeded in completely devaluing the government bonds of countries which were not so ailing at the beginning of the crisis in the year 2007. And not even false ratings could provide any remedy for this, and nor could the belated establishment of a European rating agency, which Angela Merkel intended, but then had to give up again, and with the taint of an intent to deceive. This agency would have had the task of valuing the government bonds of ailing countries more favourably than American agencies had already done, and thereby earned for itself nothing but criticism.
Without revealing this intent to deceive, the Merkel government thereby caused the value of the investments held in the form of capital, i.e. the financial investments of the insurance companies, to fall further and further. The higher the proportion of such investments I the complete assets of the individual insurer, the greater the effect of the ailing country in question on the pension and capital payment entitlements of its insured members, which also decline in value. But that is not all of the losses. The financial repression led to a drastic reduction of the base interest rate of the European Central Bank. This resulted in a reduction of the interest paid on savings, so that savers have to accept annual losses in purchasing power because of the lower interest rates.
The press quoted a figure of between € 14 and 21 billion in lost interest for the years 2013/2014. This central bank action means with regard to savers, and in particular small investors, that a portion of the interest that should have been granted by the market, is deducted or retained, in order to be able to top up with unpaid interest what can no longer be found for the national debt, such as that of the FRG out of the national budget, in order to prevent national bankruptcy. The state, whose own policy is responsible for high level of national debt, is therefore excluding its savers, who have no share and no responsibility for the national losses, in order to plug the holes in the funds of the country which is threatened with bankruptcy. Nothing could be more cynical, and it must be assumed that this procedure is desired and intended by politics, and even controlled, because a European rating agency would also have concealed this intended deceit from investors. Just like the deliberate lies – as recently claimed publicly once again by Angela M. – over the alleged independence of the banks, which has long since been disproven, which cannot be rescued by the bank union and nor by continued false ratings.

This deliberate control of interest rates therefore works to the detriment of citizens, and in particular to the detriment of their entitlements and claims under all types of insurance policies. A special role here must be attributed to the so-called Riester/Rürup pension. The Riester pension in particular is intended for those who do not have the highest incomes and also have low pension entitlements from statutory pension insurance, and should therefore be considered as particularly worthy of protection. Like all others, these persons holding life insurance policies must now also accept higher premiums, because the premiums rise all the more with the lower guaranteed interest rate of their life insurance. All those who went for a Riester pension, i.e. believed in secure investments and fair conditions, are now paying for it. They are compensating for the interest rate malaise with rising premiums and falling returns; they are bearing the burden of delayed insolvency, which the country has to find from somewhere in order to prevent national bankruptcy, and they are also bearing the loss in purchasing power of the Euro. This is not explained however by any insurance company, and politics also maintains a stony silence about it in collusion with the sycophantic press.
It is also brushed under the carpet that the debt titles, in other words the government bonds, still retain some value, and that it is justified to set this alleged high value against hardly any interest payments.

Added to this are the entitlements to payments from company retirement provisions in the form of pension commitments and company pension regulations or those under wage agreements and other company agreements and the like. The pre-financing of the payments, which was established for companies for company retirement provision, by the state in the form of Federal Employment Court legislation and from 1974 by the Company Pensions Act and the introduction of the insolvency security obligation for the “Pensionssicherungsverein AG” in Cologne, therefore left much to be desired, because the possible formation of pension reserves prescribed in § 6a of the Income Tax Act (EstG) was carried out on the basis of a calculated interest rate which from the government point of view could control the actuarially prescribed method for the calculation of these reserves, in that the lower the tax cuts accepted by the state, the higher would be the calculated interest rate (implemented in § 6a EstG), so that from the prescribed insurance mathematics, government mathematics in a similar sense could be created by control of the interest rate, in the same way that formal law has been transformed into government law by making public prosecutors subject to the instructions of state and national governments, and by appointing to the highest federal courts only those judges who are acceptable to the party, i.e. party-political control, which enables control of all aspects in a way amenable to party-politics. Despite the federal Constitutional Court, the citizen remains at the mercy of the state, by which he is marginalised.
To this extent, the use of a calculated interest rate is pointless, the determination of the financing possibility of company retirement provision, which was at times partly diverted into the current income financing procedure, although companies really wanted to finance it, but for tax reasons, from the point of view of the state, could not and were not allowed to finance it in full. This was supported by the approach of higher calculated interest rates, which were much higher than those of the life insurance companies and their guaranteed interest rate, with the argument that the companies could on average earn higher returns than the insurers.
This has created a great dilemma, now that interest rates have been reduced by politics and the central bank, with the result that they had to be set in the same way as calculated interest rates for the determination of the reserves for company retirement provision in accordance with § Income Tax Act. The additional financing requirements for the companies are now spectacularly high, so that politically controlled calculated interest rates in the past have now come to be seen as an “own goal” by governments and parliaments. The government in the meantime finds itself between a rock and a hard place, because the tax-reducing effects of such reserves are not kept in check, as politics actually intended; interest rate reductions and repression now mean that the interest rate manipulation of § 6a EstG can no longer be maintained, with the result that companies are going under because of realistic pre-financing, which lead to tax losses, unless the practice of manipulation is resumed.
These mistaken controls also determine when payments under company retirement provision can be curtailed.
Nevertheless, payments of employees under company retirement provision can also be advisable in the form of deferred entitlements made to fill in any gaps in statutory pension insurance, taking into account already existing company retirement provision payments, because they constitute the least painful way of enabling payments under company retirement provision. The resulting loss of social security pensions, even if to a lower extent, must the also be compensated for, which must also be taken into account.
And it must also be said: the protection of confidence, which governments specified and promised for life insurance and private insurance, and also for company retirement provision in general, has revealed itself as a lie. The protection of confidence in life insurance has been forfeited with government intent; company provision can still be considered useful.
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