Final Word from Thursday, June 19, 2003

Ex-Industry Minister Jiří Rusnok was hired by ING in May to advise the financial group's local board on pension reform. So far, it seems that ING is primarily advising him. He set out a reform plan yesterday in Právo that favors ING's fund-management arm. Rusnok spoke of a "quasi-mandatory" system that could shift about a fifth of pension contributions from the state system to private funds. More than 50% of the active population has supplementary pension insurance, he said, but the contributions are very small, and there's no motivation (so far) to pay more. ING's own motivation seems clear. Rusnok still has some influence in the media and government, and this will grow if he's appointed to an interim cabinet whose mandate is to enact pension and other reforms. He'd have to be careful, though, not to be seen as ING's minister of pension reform.


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