Global pensions in 5 charts

What determines the size of a country’s pension assets? Here are 5 graphs that examine potential determining factors. They’re based on data on 13 countries from Towers Watson’s recent Global Pension Assets Study 2012.

1. Not surprisingly, wealthier countries have more in pension assets. This chart shows how fund assets rise with gross domestic product. (Click on the chart to see it full screen.) The sheer size of the U.S. market is also apparent here.


2. Pension assets tend to rise as populations age. Pension assets per capita tend to grow as the proportion of the population aged 65 and up increases, but there are many outliers, as this next chart shows. (Total industry assets are indicated by the size of the circles.)

3. Growth in pension assets declines as a population ages. As this third chart illustrates, pension asset growth over the past decade has been strongest in countries with the youngest populations.



4. Assets per capita tend to be higher in systems with a greater degree of privatization. This conclusion is based on a very small sample; note that the next chart includes only 7 countries.


5. Privatized systems place a greater emphasis on defined contribution (as opposed to defined benefits), as this final chart illustrates.

For a look at patterns in global mutual fund assets, take a look at these NICSA News posts:

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