Consumer advice centers call for private pension reform | free press

Berlin (dpa) – The consumer advice centers are calling for a comprehensive reform of private pension provision after the federal election.

The head of the Federal Association (vzbv), Klaus Müller, told the German News Agency: “Whatever the next government constellation looks like, there is a chance for a fresh start.” What is needed is a new offering that, for the first time, from a consumer point of view, is high efficiency, low cost and significantly better than Riester’s current offering.

Müller spoke of a tragedy: “The insurance sector sells products that are only reasonably lucrative because of the Riester subsidy, but otherwise far too unprofitable.” More and more customers decided not to store contracts anymore.

Stock-based models “sensible”

Private services must be efficient and as cheap as possible. “Every tenth of a percentage point of the costs is a yield killer in 30 or 40 years and only leads to disappointment afterwards,” said the vzbv boss. A move to stock-based models makes sense, this is what studies by Stiftung Warentest, research institutes and experience abroad have shown: “If I have 25, 30, almost 40 years, it comes down to it being the most profitable and also the safest product is currently available. »

The consumer advice centers have long been promoting a government-organized standard product and have presented a concept for an ‘extra pension’. Employees should therefore automatically pay into the pension through their employer – unless they object to this. A government agency then has to instruct fund managers through tenders to invest the money in the capital market. It should be possible to waive sales charges and commissions.

Müller said there should be trust protection for current Riester contracts. The state must adhere to the financing obligations in the coming decades. But a change guarantee is also necessary. “Someone who has saved with Riester before should be given the opportunity to switch to this standard product.”

The consumer advocate called it “a giant step forward” that the CDU/CSU, FDP, Greens and SPD campaigned for a new and better provision for consumers in the election manifestos. “There are differences in the details, but similar ideas in purpose.”

The General Association of the German Insurance Industry was open to adjustments. Managing Director Jörg Asmussen said: “From our point of view, the Riester pension is in need of reform, but it can be reformed.” The industry has made suggestions for this, such as simplified financing. “The Riester pension is and remains an attractive product for private retirement provision – especially for families with children and people with a low income.” Others, such as skilled workers, are better off in the company pension scheme. The industry is ready to talk with a view to a simple and cheap standard product. For sales, purely digital access and personal advice must be possible.

Left: Riester pension failed

Left-wing politician Matthias W. Birkwald said consumer lawyers’ criticisms were justified: “The Riester pension has failed across the board.” That is why the statutory pension urgently needs to be strengthened. The pension level must gradually rise again to 53 percent, which will ensure the standard of living. Insured persons should be able to deposit voluntary additional contributions to the statutory pensions into their personal pension account sooner, more easily and more quickly.

Consumer lawyer Müller emphasized, especially with a view to people on a tight budget: “You shouldn’t be naive. The statutory pension is the basic security for everyone.” It must remain the strong pillar of old-age provision and be strengthened, especially for consumers in the low-wage sector.

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