2. Policy and supervisory responses to the impact of COVID-19 on asset-backed pension arrangements

March 2020: The Australian Government has temporarily reduced superannuation minimum drawdown requirements. People starting a superannuation pension or annuity on or after 1 July 2007 usually have to withdraw a minimum amount from their account each financial year.1 This minimum amount is a percentage of the account balance at 1 July of each financial year and the percentage depends on the member’s age.2 Australia decided to halve the default minimum drawdown rates for all age groups for the financial years 2019-20 and 2020-21 as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak (Table 2.1).

May 2021: The temporary reduction in superannuation minimum drawdown rates was extended for another year to 30 June 2022.3

March 2020: Working closely with its peer regulatory agencies – the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), the Australian Tax Office (ATO), the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) and the Australian Treasury – the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) recalibrated its supervision focus and intensified supervision of key risk areas brought about by the COVID-19 situation. In the superannuation space, supervision intensified across heightened risk areas – primarily:

  • liquidity, brought on by member switching to cash, foreign exchange cash calls, lower levels of member contributions due to unemployment, some funds holding high levels of illiquid assets, and Early Release Initiatives

  • investment-related matters, including market volatility, revaluation of unlisted assets, crystallising losses through selling assets in a move to hold higher liquidity and rebalancing to strategic asset allocations

  • operational and processing matters (particularly given radical changes to workforce operating models)

  • fund sustainability in a sustained period of volatility.

This intensified approach started with supervision conducting a preliminary COVID-19 impact assessment analysis (with funds responding to rounds of information requests from APRA) and continued through close engagement with all fund trustees, particularly those rated high-risk as a result of COVID-19 risk assessments. Supervisors were executing both centralised (thematic) and entity-tailored ongoing supervisory activities.

APRA’s focus on maintaining financial resilience has been carefully balanced with responding to trustee requests for relief from certain requirements. APRA therefore suspended all substantive public consultations and actions to finalise revisions to the prudential framework that were underway or upcoming, including consultations on prudential and reporting standards.4 APRA’s core focus on delivery of strong outcomes to members by trustees remained central to this approach. APRA applied close scrutiny to trustee practices relating to matters of member equity, such as rebalancing fund and product asset allocations, to avoid material risk profile shifts, and also revaluation of unlisted assets, including infrastructure.

APRA also retained a focus on the smooth operating of the superannuation processing and payments system – particularly in view of member investment switching and early release withdrawal behaviours.

ASIC also re-prioritised its work to focus on COVID-19 issues.5 This included monitoring and taking action in relation to scams, unlicensed advice and poor disclosure.

August 2020: APRA announced on 10 August 2020 that it would recommence public consultations on selected policy reforms.6 Aligned with its policy agenda, APRA also restarted consultation on a limited number of its data collections, including the recommencement of its Superannuation Data Transformation project.

April 2020: APRA announced on 8 April 2020 that it would temporarily suspend its issuance of new licences for regulated entities, including superannuation funds.7 This suspension was initially expected to last for six months, except where the granting of a licence would be necessary for APRA to carry out its mandate.

This decision intended to limit the risk of failure of new entrants that would otherwise face greater challenges than under normal economic conditions.

August 2020: APRA announced on 10 August 2020 that it would begin a phased resumption of the issuing of new licences.8 This resumption occurred in two phases, with the first one starting in September 2020 and the second one in March 2021.

April 2020: On 14 April 2020, ASIC announced three temporary relief measures to assist the industry in providing consumers with affordable and timely advice in relation to superannuation during the COVID-19 pandemic.9 ASIC:

  • issued a temporary no-action position for superannuation trustees to expand the scope of personal advice that may be provided by, or on behalf of, the superannuation trustee as ‘intra-fund advice’. Intra-fund advice is provided free of charge to the recipient of the advice

  • allowed advice providers not to give a statement of advice (SOA) to clients when providing advice about early access to superannuation

  • permitted registered tax agents to give advice to existing clients about early access to superannuation without needing to hold an Australian financial services (AFS) licence.

The relief was temporary and subject to a series of conditions. The additional conditions were added to ensure consumer protection.

September 2020: ASIC announced on 23 September 2020 that it would extend two relief measures until 31 December 2020. These measures were ASIC’s no-action position for superannuation trustees providing ‘intra-fund advice’, and financial advice relief related to the COVID-19 early release of superannuation scheme.10

Information and advice on early access to superannuation savings was also made available on ASIC’s Moneysmart website.11

October 2021: ASIC further extended temporary financial advice relief measures designed to help the financial advice industry provide consumers with affordable and timely advice during the COVID-19 pandemic.12

The measure allowing financial advisers to provide a record of advice, rather than a statement of advice, to existing clients requiring financial advice due to the impact of the pandemic was extended. This temporary measure was automatically repealed on 15 April 2022.

ASIC also reintroduced the relief measure that allows financial advisers additional time to give their clients a statement of advice after time-critical advice has been provided. Under this measure financial advisers have up to 20 business days (instead of 5 business days). The original relief measure expired on 15 April 2021. This reintroduced measure was automatically repealed on 15 April 2022.

April 2020: APRA and ASIC released a joint letter to superannuation trustees to help them manage challenges associated with COVID-19.13 This letter draws the attention of trustees to the heightened risk of scams that members may suffer from during the outbreak. Scammers could use the volatile market conditions and the potential misunderstanding about early access to retirement savings to target plan members.

Trustees were advised to remain vigilant and have a regular, clear and accurate communication with plan members.

This advice intended to protect plan members against misinformation and confusion, and enable them to make sound decisions in their best interest.

This joint APRA/ASIC letter can be accessed from the COVID-19 FAQ of ASIC. This FAQ is designed to help trustees with the various queries they may have.14

The ATO also warned individuals against scams on its website. The ATO was concerned that some people could pretend to be representatives from the ATO or a super fund to steal personal information, or to charge plan members for services that are free (such as gaining early access to superannuation savings).

August 2021: ASIC released its Corporate Plan in August 2021 which deals with the ongoing impacts of COVID-19.15 It covers several areas, such as reducing risk of harm to consumers exposed to increased investment scam activity in a low-yield environment, and supporting enhanced cyber resilience and cyber security among ASIC’s regulated population, in line with the whole-of-government commitment to mitigating cyber security risks.

March 2020: Australia broadened the eligibility conditions for early access to savings in superannuation schemes as part of a coronavirus stimulus package. Eligible Australian and New Zealand citizens and permanent residents could withdraw up to AUD 10 000 between 20 April 2020 and 30 June 2020 (Tranche 1), and up to another AUD 10 000 from 1 July until 31 December 2020 (Tranche 2).

Eligible temporary visa holders could also apply for a single release of up to AUD 10 000 before 1 July 2020. However, temporary residents were not eligible to apply for COVID-19 early release of superannuation savings in the 2020-21 financial year.

Eligible Australian and New Zealand citizens and permanent residents had to satisfy one of the following requirements to benefit from this policy:

  • being unemployed

  • being eligible to receive a job seeker payment, youth allowance for job seekers, parenting payment (which includes the single and partnered payments), special benefit or farm household allowance

  • on or after 1 January 2020: being made redundant or experiencing a 20% or more reduction in working hours. Sole traders were also eligible if their business was suspended or had suffered a decline in turnover by 20% or more.

The eligibility criteria for temporary visa holders depended on the type of temporary visa held and generally reflected the broader conditions for those visas.

Individuals could apply for early release of their savings with the ATO. For this purpose, they could use the myGov website: www.my.gov.au.

Early withdrawals under this temporary coronavirus measure were tax-free. This measure was expected (on 17 April 2020) to cost the government AUD 1.75 billion. This cost estimate was revised upwards to AUD 2.2 billion (on 23 July 2020). The government did not collect the taxes they usually receive for early withdrawals.16

The industry initially expressed concerns about the potential magnitude of early withdrawals by eligible members and the impact this would have on retirement outcomes of members and liquidity management of superannuation funds.17 Concerns in relation to liquidity centred on the possibility that funds may have to sell assets to fund cash withdrawals at a time when markets are low.

The Australian Government originally estimated that AUD 29.5 billion would be released to members under the programme. This estimate represented less than 1% of the almost AUD 3 trillion in total assets managed by superannuation funds at the time. This estimation was surpassed, but superannuation funds were able to manage the liquidity impacts.

The combined figures (of both Tranche 1 and Tranche 2) for the programme are as follows.18 The total value of benefits paid as part of the early release scheme amounted to AUD 36.4 billion as at 31 January 2021. There was a total of 3.5 million initial applications approved across the full period of the scheme, as well as 1.4 million repeat applications during the second tranche. The average amount withdrawn per member was AUD 7 638. Repeat applications were for an average amount of AUD 8 268 while initial applications were for an average amount of AUD 7 402.

The COVID-19 Early Release of Super programme closed on 31 December 2020. Payments for applications submitted by 31 December 2020 were completed throughout January 2021.

April 2020: The Financial Market Authority (FMA) of Austria recommended insurance companies in April 2020 to withhold paying bonuses or dividends. It also advised them to refrain from share buy-backs.19

July 2020: The FMA reiterated its advice at the end of July 2020, urging insurance companies to continue refraining from dividend distributions and share buy-backs.20 This recommendation is in line with the position of EIOPA.

July 2021: The FMA repealed the restrictions on distributions of dividends, share buybacks as well as variable remuneration.21 However, the FMA continued to demand prudent and forward-looking capital planning on the part of financial service providers when considering dividend distributions, share buybacks and variable remuneration. In particular, financial service providers should give careful consideration to the sustainability of their business model and an increased credit risk that could arise from additional losses once government support measures cease to apply.

March 2020: The FMA has been adapting its supervisory practices in line with the recommendations of European supervisory authorities.22 The objective is to provide flexibility, allowing supervised entities to focus on maintaining their business operations.

The FMA temporarily suspended on-site presence as part of audits. Ongoing inspections continued and were completed off-site as far as possible based on the information and documents available. It also temporarily waived the requirement of the personal presence of the members at supervisory board committee meetings within the scope of its responsibility.

The FMA also extended reporting deadlines, in line with EIOPA’s recommendations.23

April 2020: The FMA has warned its supervised entities about an increase in fraudulent activities related to the COVID-19 outbreak.24 The FMA lists several types of fraud, including:

  • CEO fraud: scammers deceive teleworking employees by sending them emails from their supervisors, and especially from top management

  • Phishing: scammers attempt to get confidential information from customers via email or social media, and then use this information to carry out fraudulent transactions

  • Pushing of penny stocks: scammers purchase worthless shares, push their prices up using fake news related to COVID-19, and then sell these shares to investors they target to deceive.

The FMA intends to keep its supervised entities and their customers informed about these risks.

March 2020: The Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA), which is in charge of supervising institutions for occupational retirement provision (IORPs), provided more flexibility to IORPs to help them to cope with the business disruptions and effects of the outbreak.25

The FSMA published general guidance relating to COVID-19 on its website. This information has been regularly updated. Among others, this guidance relates to:

  • the supervisory approach of the FSMA: postponement of deadlines, no launch of major supervisory actions, except monitoring the financial situation of the IORPs in the context of the COVID-19-crisis

  • information regarding initiatives of EIOPA (reference to the EIOPA statement to mitigate the impact of COVID-19) and the national legislator regarding reporting deadlines and more flexible organisation of meetings

  • a recommendation to communicate proactively and clearly with the sponsors, members and beneficiaries on the evolution of the financial situation and on possible adjustments to the operational functioning of the IORPs.

Given the impact of the outbreak on financial markets, the FSMA contacted directly IORPs with funding shortfalls for short-term liabilities, in order to discuss with them about a timeline for a recovery plan and related measures.

May 2020: Flexibility was provided by the law of 14 May 2020.26 IORPs were allowed to postpone their ordinary general assembly until 30 August 2020. They could also organise their general assembly as a remote meeting. The governing bodies were also allowed to make unanimous decisions in written.

The same law modified reporting deadlines. The deadline for annual audited accounts and annual reports to the FSMA was postponed from 30 June to 31 August 2020, while the deadline for reporting to the National Bank of Belgium was postponed from 31 July to 30 September 2020.

The FSMA also published specific guidance in order to ensure that IORPs take appropriate steps to ensure continuity and regularity in the performance of their activities, including the development of contingency plans.27

April 2020: The FSMA developed a webpage warning customers about fraudulent investment offers and scams on social media.28 This webpage presents the methods of those tricking customers, and provides advice to prevent customers for falling in a trap. This webpage also informs customers on what they can do if they are victim of fraud.

May 2020: Belgium introduced the possibility for employers to count periods of temporary unemployment due to COVID-19 as periods of employment for their temporary unemployed workers with respect to occupational pensions.29 Before COVID-19, spells of temporary unemployment were usually not taken into account in the calculation of a pension for DB plans or could lead to a break in contributions into DC plans. Death coverage also stopped. Following the COVID-19 outbreak, the parliament allowed in May 2020 temporarily unemployed workers to continue to be covered by their occupational plans as if they were employed. Employers could refuse the application of this special COVID-19 measure, but the death cover was mandatory. The measure was effective until 30 September 2020 and allowed employers to postpone the payment of the premiums until that date.

December 2020: The measure was initially prolonged until 31 March 2021.

April 2021: The measure was further prolonged until 30 June 2021.

June 2021: The measure was further prolonged until 30 September 2021.

Pension providers (i.e. pension funds and insurers) were responsible for informing employers about the extension of the measure. Employers were first informed when these measures were introduced in May 2020. The legislator did not consider it necessary to provide for additional information obligations when this measure was extended, as employers had already received the information the first time and the extension of the measure aimed to maintain the existing situation.

If the employer or sector had refused the COVID-19 measure before 30 June 2021, this refusal was prolonged until 30 September 2021. By contrast, if the measures were applicable before 30 June 2021, they were automatically prolonged for all temporary unemployed workers until 30 September 2021.

Contribution payments had to continue for temporarily unemployed employees but employers could request to defer their contributions for these employees until 30 September 2021.

This initiative intended to ensure employees could continue to accumulate pension rights during their temporary unemployment. The employer had nevertheless an opt-out possibility for pension accrual during the period of temporary unemployment due to force majeure or economic reasons caused by the COVID-19 crisis. In that case, the rules of the pension plan were applicable. However, the government decided that the death coverage would still be maintained until 30 September 2021.

April 2020: The FSMA published on its website several FAQs with an explanation of the consequences of the COVID-19 crisis on different situations or topics.30 In addition, the FSMA set up a call centre where all consumers, including members and beneficiaries of a supplementary pension scheme, can ask questions related to the impact of COVID-19 on financial matters, including matters related to occupational pensions.31

May 2020: Canada reduced the required minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) by 25% for 2020.32 RRIFs are arrangements that individuals contract with an insurance company, a trust company or a bank. The selected provider is in charge of paying regular amounts to the subscribers based on assets transferred from a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP), a Pool Registered Pension Plan (PRPP), a Registered Pension Plan (RPP), a Specified Pension Plan (SPP) or another RRIF.

A similar measure applies to individuals who receive variable benefit payments from a defined contribution (DC) RPP or a PRPP. The minimum amount that individuals receive was also reduced by 25% in 2020.

March 2020: The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) announced a freeze on portability transfers of rights and annuity purchases relating to federally regulated defined benefit (DB) plans on 27 March 2020. The OSFI only accepted a transfer or an annuity purchase on a case-by-case basis under exceptional circumstances.33 This freeze did not affect the ongoing pension payments to retirees and other beneficiaries.

This measure was expected to protect the benefits of plan members and beneficiaries at a time when the funding status of DB plans was suffering from developments on financial markets.

August 2020: The OSFI lifted this portability freeze at the end of August 2020, following the improvement of solvency ratios of DB plans and the recovery from the market lows in March 2020.34 From September 2020, portability transfers and buy-out annuity purchases have been subject to conditions mostly similar to those applying before 27 March 2020. As one of the new conditions for portability transfers, the amount of the initial transfer shall not exceed the transfer value, which is the commuted value of the pension benefit multiplied by the transfer ratio of the plan.

February 2021: The OSFI removed on 25 February 2021 the requirement to use a projected solvency ratio as of 31 March 2020 (or later) for portability transfers.35

May 2020: The Solvency Special Payments Relief Regulations of 2020 provided immediate temporary relief to sponsors of federally regulated DB plans by establishing a moratorium on solvency payment requirements for DB plans.36 This moratorium applied to solvency special payments becoming due between 1 April 2020 and 30 December 2020.37

  • The amounts of any solvency special payments that became due from 1 April 2020 to 26 May 2020 (i.e. the day before the coming-into-force date of the Relief Regulations, which is 27 May 2020), unless related to a plan year that ended before 27 April 2020, were reduced to zero and did not become due after 30 December 2020 once the moratorium was lifted.

  • From 27 May 2020 until 30 December 2020, the amounts of any solvency special payments that became due were reduced to zero and did not become due after 30 December 2020 once the moratorium was lifted.

  • The amounts of any solvency special payments that became due and are made from 1 April until 27 May may be deducted from the plan’s required current service (or normal cost) contributions and/or going concern special payments in the period beginning on 27 May 2020 and ending on 30 December 2020.

The Solvency Special Payments Relief Regulations of 2020 did not set out a separate amortisation schedule for the solvency special payments that were foregone during the moratorium. Since the end of the moratorium, plans have been subject to the normal funding rules, which provide that any solvency deficiency is to be amortised at least through monthly instalments over a five year period.

March 2020: A three-month extension was granted for annual reporting on federally regulated private pension plans.38 This deadline extension applied in particular to the filing of annual information returns, certified financial statements, actuarial reports and annual statements.

Pension regulators in several Canadian provinces also tried to provide support to pension plan administrators. Several provided deadlines extensions for required filings such as annual information returns, financial statements, member statements and member notices.39 Regulators have also issued FAQs and website notifications to explain measures and address pension issues stemming from COVID-19.

February 2021: The OSFI cancelled on 25 February 2021 the extensions in place since April 2020 to file an annual information return, certified financial statement, auditor’s report filing confirmation, actuarial report, actuarial information summary, and annual member statements.40

May 2020: The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) announced on 5 May 2020 that it would waive the requirement for employers sponsoring DC plans to contribute at least 1% of the payroll on behalf of their employees until the end of 2020.41 This waiver was conditional on the amendment of the plans to suspend all accruals for the year.

July 2020 / May 2021: In July 2020, the Department of Finance announced temporary amendments to the Income Tax Regulations applicable to RPPs and deferred salary leave plans (DSLPs).42 In May 2021, the temporary relief was extended for another year (to 30 April 2022).43 The amendments provided support to employers and employees who participate in RPPs and DSLPs:

  • adding temporary “stop-the-clock” rules to DSLPs from 15 March 2020 to 30 April 2022, thus not requiring a DSLP to be terminated if an employee suspends a leave of absence in order to return to essential work or if an employee chooses to delay their paid leave of absence

  • removing restrictions (until 30 April 2022) that prohibit RPP administrators from borrowing money

  • permitting catch-up contributions to RPPs by 30 April 2022, towards remaining required contributions that otherwise had not been made in 2020 or 2021

  • waiving the requirement that an employee needs at least 36 months of employment to qualify for an “eligible period of reduced pay” so that all employees, including new employees, may receive unreduced pension coverage

  • in cases of wage rollback periods, allowing employer pension contributions to be based on 100% of wages prior to rollback.

April 2020: Chile adopted a rule to transfer the pension assets of those about to receive pension payments to a separate account.44 Before the new rule, the amount of assets in the pension plan could vary between the start of application for a pension payment and the actual moment when individuals received their benefits. This implied that members and beneficiaries were not sure about what their final balance would be at the time of calculating their pension. With the new rule, individuals who are about to retire can ask their Pension Fund Administrator (AFP) to transfer pension assets to a separate account at the beginning of the process, in order to maintain the level of pension assets unchanged during the process to get pension payments for retirement.

This measure intends to protect the pension savings of those who are retiring in times of volatile financial markets. This measure entered into force on 1 May 2020.

April 2020: Given the health measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Superintendence of Pensions requested the public to use online service platforms and the call centre instead of going to premises for face-to-face meetings.45 People could carry out procedures, enquiries or complaints and review the status of their applications on the website of the supervisor. People could also send some documents to the supervisor in a pdf format by email.

A temporary regulation was also issued in the context of COVID-19 to allow plan members to complete all pension procedures for retirement through the SCOMP platform completely remotely.46

These adjustments intended to guarantee the continuation of the operation of the supervisor and pension providers while protecting the health of the public.

July 2020: As a response to the COVID-19 crisis, Chile passed a law in July 2020 to allow plan members to withdraw up to 10% of accumulated assets in mandatory accounts, with a minimum of 35 Unidad de Fomentos (UFs) and a maximum of 150 UFs.47 This withdrawal was voluntary and tax exempt. Plan members could submit their request to their AFP from 30 July 2020 to 30 July 2021. AFPs then had to distribute 50% of the withdrawal amount within 10 business days from the date of submission of plan members’ request (unless the withdrawal amount was lower than 35 UFs).48 Plan members received the remainder within 30 days of the first withdrawal payment.

More than 11 million people (more than 9 in 10 plan members) had withdrawn savings from their individual accounts as of 1 October 2021 for the first round of withdrawals. These withdrawals amounted to CLP 15 575 865 million (USD 19 184 million) overall.

November 2020: A second 10% early withdrawal was approved on 10 November 2020. Members could make this second withdrawal by 9 December 2020 and until the end of November 2021. The withdrawal was taxed for people earning more than 30 Unidad Tributaria Anual (around CLP18.3 million) annually. Members could benefit from this even if they had not requested early access to their savings the first time through the possibility opened in July 2020. The first and second withdrawals were two independent procedures. Members could still make a request for the first withdrawal until the end of July 2021 if they wished so.

As of 1 October 2021, nearly 9 million people requested a withdrawal during the second round. The total amount of withdrawals reached CLP 12 660 640 million (USD 15 594 million).

April 2021: After these two laws, a third round of withdrawals of retirement savings was approved in April 2021. The law allows members to withdraw up to 10% of their savings for the third time. Pensioners receiving an annuity can also request an advance on the money they would get later. The application for the third withdrawals could start from early May 2021. Over 7.3 million Chileans had requested a third pay-out by 1 October 2021. These withdrawals amounted to CLP 10 516 467 million (USD 12 953 million).

July 2020: The Chilean Superintendence of Pensions announced at the end of July 2020 that some investment restrictions would be more flexible for six months.49 For instance, the limit on investments in short-term deposits in foreign banks was increased from 2% to 4% of assets. These adjustments were an exceptional and transitory measure to facilitate the 10% withdrawal process and aimed at facilitating the payments from AFPs to plan members requesting an early withdrawal of their savings.

May 2021: The Law No. 21.339 introduced a state-funded CLP 200 000 bonus for members who had emptied their mandatory savings accounts due to the first two rounds of withdrawals between 30 July 2020 and 31 March 2021, and those with a balance of less than CLP 200 000 as of 31 March 2021.50 For the latter, the bonus corresponded to a top up to reach a balance of CLP 200 000. Members had to be participating in the system since at least 1 January 2021 to be eligible for this bonus. The AFPs sent the list of people qualifying to get this bonus to Chile’s Treasury. The Treasury then sent the money to the AFPs. The bonus was transferred to the individuals’ accounts. Members could leave this bonus in their accounts if they wished so, they were not required to withdraw the money. As of 13 October 2021, 2.7 million members received a government bonus of CLP 188 214 on average.51 The total cost amounted to CLP 510 785 million (USD 617.2 million).

July 2020: Following the entry into force of the rules that allowed the first withdrawal of up to 10% of pension assets, the Central Bank of Chile implemented a range of measures.52 These measures addressed the fact that early access to pension savings represented a significant liquidation of assets by the administrators of these funds, and that the orderly liquidation of such assets was essential to preserve the financial stability and efficiency of the price formation process. The measures included:

  • Establish a special programme of spot purchase operations carried out jointly and simultaneously with a forward sale, on the open market, of eligible instruments issued by banking companies (CC-VP Programme)

  • Continue with the purchase window of Bank Bonds for the remainder of USD 4 100 million of the March programme, which was intended to contain volatility scenarios

  • Add a term deposit purchase window for up to USD 8 billion, which was open to the same participants as the previous window, that is, to all SOMA participants.

The above programmes were initially in force for a period of six months.

December 2020: In the context of the second withdrawal, the Central Bank of Chile implemented the following measures, in force between 9 December 2020 and 15 February 2021:53

  • Reopening of the special cash purchase and term sale (CC-VP) programme for the remainder of the first programme, equivalent to an amount of up to the equivalent of USD 8 500 million

  • Reopening of the special programme for the purchase of Term Deposits for the remainder of the first programme, equivalent to an amount of up to the equivalent of USD 7 750 million.

May 2021: Following the enactment of the third round of early withdrawals, the Central Bank of Chile put measures in place to mitigate the volatility that this round of withdrawals could create in financial markets:54

  • Reopening of the special cash purchase and term sale (CC-VP) programme, open to banking companies and other financial institutions, for the remainder of the programme, equivalent to an amount of up to USD 9 500 million and the renewal of the current amount, equivalent to an amount of USD 500 million. The CC-VP programme was in force from 3 May 2021 until the second week of July 2021

  • The REPO window with banking companies was extended until August 2021 in operations of one month term.

AFPs also have market mechanisms at their disposal to provide liquidity and facilitate the adjustment of portfolios.

April 2020: Chile introduced laws allowing the suspension of the contract of employees during the pandemic while ensuring their employers continued to pay monthly social security contributions during the time of the suspension.55 Employees were getting monthly benefits from the unemployment insurance fund at a reduced wage replacement rate. The unemployment insurance fund has been paying the pension contributions, amounting to 10% of the unemployment benefits. There were a total of 964 568 beneficiaries accessing suspension contract benefits between April 2020 and October 2021.

April 2020: Colombia introduced a decree transferring the duty to pay benefits to pensioners from private AFPs to the State Pension Fund (Colpensiones) under certain circumstances.56 AFPs providing a lifetime programmed withdrawal usually have to ensure that the remaining accumulated capital is always enough to finance a life annuity at least equal to the minimum monthly wage.57 If not, the AFP must purchase a life annuity equivalent to the minimum wage with an insurance company. Following the COVID-19 outbreak, AFPs were required to transfer the balance of pensioners in programmed withdrawals to Colpensiones if this balance was not enough to guarantee the lifetime payment of a monthly minimum wage according to the estimates of AFPs as of 31 March 2020. Pensioners in this situation received allowances equivalent to the monthly minimum wage from Colpensiones.

June 2020: Instead of requiring AFPs to transfer the balance of all eligible pensioners to Colpensiones, another decree made this a voluntary option.58 AFPs who decided to make use of this mechanism had until 31 October 2020 to transfer the assets to Colpensiones.

July 2020: The court declared unconstitutional Legislative Decree 802 of 4 June 2020, which modified Legislative Decree 558 of 15 April 2020. In addition, it declared Legislative Decree 558 of 2020 unconstitutional and ordered the government, in the exercise of its powers, to adopt and implement a mechanism that, within a reasonable period of time, guarantees the reestablishment of the link to the AFPs of pensioners under the programmed withdrawal option who were transferred to Colpensiones in compliance with the provisions of Decree 558 of 2020.

March 2020: The Financial Superintendence of Colombia (SFC) issued a series of instructions and general rules for compliance by the supervised entities, such as:

  • External Circular 12 of 2020: the SFC instructed financial entities to promote the use of digital channels to carry out the greatest number of procedures and transactions for financial consumers, provided that the service expected by the consumer allowed for it.

  • External Circular 09 of 2020: the SFC set forth transitory measures to help financial institutions in prioritising the continuity of service provision. For example, the SFC postponed the submission of the results of the stress tests until the last business day of July 2021.

  • Circular Letter 19 of 2020: the SFC suspended the terms of the administrative actions carried out by the Superintendence for a period.

  • External Circular 08 of 2020: the SFC issued guidelines for strengthening operational risk management of the supervised entities under the current state of financial markets and the health emergency situation.

April 2020: Colombia also introduced a decree to ensure that people over 70 could collect their pensions in a flexible and safe way during the sanitary emergency.59 Those over 70 did not need to give a special power or authorisation before a notary or public official to let a relative or someone else close to them collect their pensions. Pensioners simply needed to give an original identity document and a written authorisation to let a third party collect their pensions on their behalf.

People over 80 (or over 70 if they were disabled) were entitled to receive their pensions at home from a transport company. The pension administrator was in charge of the logistics to ensure entitled retirees received their payments.

April 2020: Decree 558 allowed for a reduction in mandatory contributions to the General Pension System for April and May 2020. Before this decree, employers and employees had to contribute 16% of gross earnings overall to cover pension insurance, disability and survivors’ pensions and finance administrative costs. Contributions amounted to 12% of gross earnings for employers and 4% for employees. Decree 558 reduced mandatory contributions from 16% to 3%. Employers paid 75% of this 3% contribution and the employees paid the remaining 25%. The contributions paid in April and May 2020 still counted toward the minimum weeks of contributions that are needed to qualify for an old-age pension, despite the reduced contribution rates.60

July 2020: The court declared unconstitutional Legislative Decree 802 of 4 June 2020, which modified Legislative Decree 558 of 15 April 2020. In addition, it declared Legislative Decree 558 of 2020 unconstitutional and ordered the government, in the exercise of its powers, to adopt and implement a mechanism that, within a reasonable period of time, allows employers, employees and the self-employed to contribute the missing amounts of contributions to the General Pension System for April and May 2020, when payments were made partially under the provisions of Decree 558 of 2020.

April 2021: The Ministry of Labour issued a decree in April 2021 (Decree 376).61 This decree stipulated that employees and employers who benefitted from the reduction of the contribution rate for April and May 2020 have 36 months from 1 June 2021 to pay the missing contributions. The payment form does not include the default interest (for late contributions) for April and May 2020. Employers can deduct the share of the contributions that employees must pay (i.e. 25%) from their salary without requesting their authorisation. If employees have stopped working for the company since May 2020, employers have to pay the 75% of the missing contributions and former employees have to pay their share (i.e. 25% of the missing contributions) within 36 months. If former employees make this payment after the 36-month period, they have to pay a penalty (default interests). In all the cases, default interests will apply for any payment of missing contributions (for April and May 2020) that is not made before 1 June 2024.

April 2020: Law 9 838 was published on 4 April 2020 to allow employees affected by the pandemic to withdraw funds from their individual account in the Labour Capitalisation Fund (FCL). This fund is financed by employers (1.5% of the employee’s salary) and the individual account is managed by the pension administrator selected by the employee. This account is separated from the pension account. Initially, employees could only withdraw funds from the FCL under three conditions: i) the end of the employment relationship; ii) upon the death of the worker; iii) after having a continuous employment relationship with the employer for five years. Law 9 838 added the possibility to withdraw funds in the event of a temporary suspension of the employment relationship or of a reduction in the ordinary working day that implies a reduction in salary.62 The amount that employees could withdraw corresponded to the balance available on the date on which the suspension of the employment relationship or the reduction of the working day began. The pension administrators had a maximum of 15 working days from the application date to make the payment.

May 2020: The National Council for the Supervision of the Financial System (Conassif) approved on 25 May a temporary suspension of the transfer of members’ resources between pension operators, for the entire duration of the declaration of emergency established by the Executive Branch in Executive Decree No. 42227-MP-S of 16 March 2020.63

The possibility to change pension operators resumed at the beginning of September 2020.

October 2020: Law No. 9 906 accelerates the withdrawal of funds from the Mandatory Pension Regime (ROP) for people who have acquired the right to retire.64 There are three different situations:

  • Individuals who were retired and had not withdrawn all of their accumulated assets by 31 December 2020 could request the transfer of the funds in their individual accounts in three annual payments

  • Individuals who acquired the right to retire under the ROP before 1 January 2021 can withdraw their funds in 30 months, either through monthly instalments until the accumulated balance is exhausted, or with the accelerated withdrawal option where the individual receives four instalments of 25% of the balance each, with the first withdrawal paid 60 days after the request

  • Individuals who will retire from 1 January 2021 and until 18 February 2030 will be able to accelerate the withdrawal of their resources through the temporary income option for a period equal to the number of contributions paid.

April 2020: The Czech National Bank (CNB) called on pension management companies to withhold dividend payments and take any other steps that might jeopardise their capital resilience.65

April 2020: The CNB agreed to provide domestic supervised entities some flexibility in fulfilling their disclosure duty. The latter could submit and publish their 2019 annual report by 30 June 2020.66

March 2020: The wage compensation scheme became effective on 9 March 2020 for wage earners in the private sector. The government and the social partners reached a tripartite agreement to guarantee that firms who experienced a decrease in orders and consumers due to COVID-19 and thus could not afford their employees, received a partial refund for their incurred expenses, initially for three months until 9 June 2020. By applying for the wage compensation scheme, firms were obliged to refrain from laying off workers due to economic reasons, during the period they received compensation.67

The wage compensation scheme covered 75% of the monthly gross pay for waged employees and 90% of the monthly gross pay for non-waged workers. The maximum coverage was DKK 30 000.68

The salary taken into account to calculate the subsidy was the employee’s total withholding income, including the company’s and the employee’s ATP contributions, as well as any contributions to the employer-sponsored pension scheme.

April 2020: On 18 April 2020, the government and the social partners reached an agreement prolonging the wage compensation scheme by one month, extending its effect until 8 July 2020.69

December 2020: On 10 December 2020, the government and social partners reached a tripartite agreement on the reintroduction of the wage compensation scheme.70

January 2021: On 14 January 2021, the government and social partners reached a tripartite agreement extending the wage compensation scheme until the tighter restrictions implemented following a surge in corona infection rates were lifted.

March 2020: The Danish Financial Supervisory Authority (FSA) extended the deadline for reporting for insurers.71 In this respect, the FSA followed the recommendations from the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA). EIOPA itself extended its deadlines, providing more time to national insurance authorities to submit information on insurers.

Danish insurance companies wishing to report later than the usual deadlines only had to inform the FSA by email.

March 2020: The FSA requested Danish pension companies to report the solvency coverage and carry out a simplified stress test every week.72 Pension companies were expected to calculate the solvency coverage on the day before the reporting deadline, and an estimate of what the solvency coverage would have been on that same accounting day in the worst-case scenario of a decline by 15% in equity prices and a 25 basis point change in interest rates. Pension companies had to submit this information each Wednesday between 18 March and 17 June 2020.

This request aimed at helping the FSA to monitor developments in the pension sector more closely.

April 2020: EIOPA called on insurance and pension companies to temporarily suspend all dividend payments and share buybacks, as well as to restrain other variable remuneration. The FSA supported EIOPA’s request and invited Danish insurance and pension companies to act in accordance with it. 73

March 2020: Some pension companies provided consumers with the option to suspend their contributions. For example, Danica Pension allowed its self-employed members to suspend their pension contributions until the end of June 2020.74 Self-employed workers only had to pay a small part of their insurance to be fully covered if they fell sick or were injured. The rest of the premium payment came from existing pension savings. Danica Pension also invited small and medium-sized companies to get in touch with their consumer advisor to reduce pension contributions if companies, employees and unions agreed.

September 2020: Estonia temporarily suspended the payment of employer contributions of 4% of salary to the second pension pillar, except for employees born between 1942 and 1960, for whom contributions continued as normal.75 This suspension took place from 1 July 2020 until 31 August 2021. Employers continued to pay the 4% contribution (as part of their overall 33% social security contributions), but the 4% was retained in the public scheme instead of going to the second pension pillar.

Members, including those born between 1942 and 1960, had the option of stopping their contributions by applying for a suspension in October 2020. Employee contributions for those who applied were suspended between 1 December 2020 and 31 August 2021.

In 2023-24, the state budget will finance the missing 4% employer contributions for every month employees continued to make their 2% contributions between 1 July 2020 and 31 August 2021. This amount will be paid into second pillar pension plans. The state will also finance a return on these missing contributions. This return will correspond to the average return of second pillar pension plans between 1 July 2020 and 31 December 2022.76

In total, 9 575 people applied for a temporary suspension of contributions, of which 60% were women.77 These people will not receive the 4% employer contribution back.

March 2020: On 19 March 2020, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health approved the amendment of the solvency rules for pension insurance institutions.78 The amendment concerned the supplement factor. Under normal circumstances, old-age pension funds are supplemented annually by a supplementary factor determined on the basis of the average solvency of earnings-related pension insurers. The amendment allowed the non-payment of the supplement factor for a fixed period from 1 April 2020.

On 26 March 2020, the Finnish Government also gave the Financial Supervisory Authority the power to extend the deadline for the implementation of recovery plans for pension insurance institutions when their solvency capital falls below the required level. This policy shall remain in force until 26 March 2023. Under normal circumstances, the implementation of the recovery plan shall be one year, in certain exceptional cases two years.

March 2020: Employers and the self-employed could agree with their pension provider to postpone the payment of pension contributions into earnings-related pension plans by three months.79 They had to pay a 2% interest charge on these delayed contributions but were not subject to any penalty fee.

March 2020: The Finnish Government approved the proposal of social partners to reduce contributions to earnings-related pension plans temporarily.80 Employer contributions were lowered by 2.6 percentage points from 1 May 2020 and until the end of 2020. Pension providers could use buffer funds to offset this reduction in contributions and pay current pensions.81 Employer contributions will increase again between 2022 and 2025 to make up for the missing contributions in 2020 and replenish buffer funds.

March 2020: The government facilitated employers’ access to the contributions they paid into earnings-related pension plans through loans (premium loans). To get a loan, employers need a guarantee. The state-owned financing company, Finnvera, could provide guarantees for these loans.82

On 30 March 2020, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health approved a possibility to restrict premium lending, to secure the liquidity of pension insurance institutions.

April 2020: In early April 2020, the French Prudential Supervisory Authority (ACPR) called on insurers to refrain from paying dividends to shareholders at least until 1 October 2020.83 COVID-19 has had multiple effects on the insurance sector, which could only be assessed in hindsight. One of the ACPR’s essential missions is to prevent the failures of insurers, in the interest of consumers. The ACPR tried to ensure that the sector would remain solvent regardless of the severity of the crises it would face.

July 2020: Following the recommendations from the European Systemic Risk Board, the ACPR urged its supervised entities (including insurers) at the end of July 2020 to refrain from paying dividends until 1 January 2021.84

February 2021: In line with the recommendations from European authorities, the ACPR called on its supervised entities in mid-February 2021 to remain cautious with respect to dividend payments until 30 September 2021.85 Supervised entities were invited to inform the ACPR before deciding to make dividend payments. Insurance companies had to provide 3-year projection of their own funds and solvency ratio, assessed under two scenarios: an intermediate scenario and another one with a deteriorating economic environment and very low interest rates.

March 2020: Following EIOPA’s recommendations, the ACPR decided at end-March 2020 to postpone the deadline for insurers to fulfil some of their reporting duties.The ACPR gave more time to insurers to submit their European prudential reporting, comply with national reporting requirements and return the other requested non-prudential information.86

March 2020: The ACPR has issued a warning against frauds and scams on its webpage.87 The ACPR and the French Financial Markets Regulator (AMF) called for vigilance as the risk of scams may be heightened during the COVID-19 outbreak and setbacks on financial markets. People may be offered false insurance policies with attractive features (such as high returns with low risk). The ACPR and the AMF provided advice for people to avoid being victim of frauds or scams.

June 2020: The ACPR was informed of a wave of fraudulent calls and emails by scammers impersonating ACPR staff in order to collect information on financial intermediaries (brokers or agents in banking, insurance or crowdfunding). The ACPR calls on the financial sector to be extremely vigilant and not to respond to these requests.

July 2020: In order to contribute to a successful deconfinement, the National Task Force for the Fight against Fraud and Scams proposed a guide to resume activities while protecting against scams. The COVID-19 outbreak was accompanied by an upsurge in fraud and scams, especially online. The ACPR has been active within the National Task Force for the Fight against Fraud and Scams involving government offices and supervisory authorities.

July 2021: The ACPR encouraged insurance companies to improve their cyber risk management, in a context of growing IT risk. The financial sector remains the sector most targeted by cyberattacks.

March 2020: The French Government extended the deadline for companies to pay bonuses and profit-sharing to their employees from 1 June to 31 December 2020.88 Employers only had to inform employee representative bodies if they wished to take advantage of this flexibility. Employees can decide to receive the money directly or to save it into a company savings plan, including an occupational pension plan (plan d’épargne retraite collectif).89 Therefore, postponing the payment of bonuses and profits can have an impact on contributions to occupational pension plans.

July 2020: Following the COVID-19 outbreak, France allowed the self-employed to withdraw assets from their retirement savings plan (Madelin contracts, PER for individuals).90 Self-employed workers could withdraw up to EUR 8 000 from their Madelin contract or their PER until the end of 2020, if they had opened it before 10 June 2020. Withdrawals were tax-exempt up to EUR 2 000.

March 2020: To avoid the necessity of emergency sales under supervisory law in order to ensure compliance with the proportion of real estate and to safeguard the stability of the financial market, the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) announced that it would not raise any objections if Pensionskassen temporarily and passively exceeded the limit on investments in real estate under section 3 (5) of the German Regulation on the Investment of Guarantee Assets of Pensionskassen, Funeral Expenses Funds and Small Insurance Undertakings (Anlage des Sicherungsvermögens von Pensionskassen, Sterbekassen und kleinen Versicherungsunternehmen – AnlV). However, Pensionskassen were not allowed to make new investments in real estate if they exceed the 25% limit under section 3 (5) of the AnlV.

The flexibility for the investment in real estate for Pensionskassen remained until August 2021.

April 2020: BaFin provided employers more time to address underfunding of Pensionsfonds as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. According to the German Insurance Supervision Act, employers usually have up to ten years to eliminate the funding shortfall when the guarantee assets of Pensionfonds are underfunded up to 10%. If the funding shortfall is larger than 10%, employers have to restore a 90% coverage without delay. In the case of an underfunding up to 10%, employers are normally required to submit a recovery plan within three months from the beginning of a funding shortfall, at the latest. Given the outbreak, BaFin accepted recovery plans to be submitted by 1 October 2020 at the latest. Additionally, employers did not have to make initial payments in 2020 and could start in 2021. Employers were also allowed to defer any other payments owed to limit the underfunding to 10% of technical provisions to 2021 if the employer declared to the Pensionsfonds that no capital-reducing measures in the form of profit distributions or share buy-backs would be taken. Underfunding exceeding 10% had to be reduced to 10% before the first instalment of a plan for re-establishing cover is paid.

March 2020 (updated in March 2021): BaFin provided flexibility with respect to the submission of the registers of guarantee assets that are requested under Section 126 of the Insurance Supervision Act (VAG). The deadline of 31 March 2020 was suspended. Pensionsfonds and Pensionskassen subject to VAG had to submit the registers in paper form by 30 June 2020.

The flexibility was also provided for 2021. Pensionsfonds and Pensionskassen had to submit the registers in paper form by 30 June 2021 (instead of 31 March 2021).

Some flexibility was also provided with respect to the reporting for EIOPA and the ECB.

April 2020: IORPs must usually submit and publish the declaration of principles of their investment policy to the supervisory authority no later than four months after the end of a financial year. On 24 April 2020, BaFin published an interpretative decision to the declaration on the principles of the investment policy.91 Due to the publication date of the interpretative decision and the pandemic, BaFin did not object if IORPs could not take the interpretation decision into account in their declaration on the principles of investment policy in 2020.

March 2020: BaFin advised investors on its website to carefully check whether the information on the COVID-19 pandemic contained in market letters and other promotional publications was accurate before trading in shares.92

April 2020: The Bank of Greece advised insurance undertakings to withhold paying dividends to shareholders in line with the relevant statement from the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA).

May 2020: The Greek Competent Authorities issued general recommendations to IORPs on 20 May 2020 to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the occupational pensions sector.

March 2020: The Bank of Greece exhibited flexibility regarding the reporting deadlines for insurance undertakings. In this respect, the Bank of Greece follows the recommendations from EIOPA that has extended the deadlines for insurance companies to comply with Solvency II reporting requirements.

March 2020 onwards: Α list of employers affected by the COVID-19 crisis were given the possibility to pay the contributions for February, March and April 2020 until 31 December 2021.

The contributions for the employees with mandatory suspension of employment contracts were covered by the state budget during 2020 and 2021.

The contributions for the employees, for the period of time when the employer joined the employment support scheme “SYN-ERGASIA” and the employee did not work due to the reduction of working hours, were paid by the state. The scheme SYN-ERGASIA was established in order to moderate the impact of COVID-19 on employment.

Intensification of supervision

April/May 2020: The national supervisory authorities intensified their monitoring through extra and special periodic reports in areas such as the status of collection of contributions, the liquidity of the occupational pension funds and the evolution of their assets value.

March 2020: The Central Bank of Hungary (MNB) issued an Executive Circular (Executive Circular 8) that specified the risk mitigation measures pension funds were expected to take during the COVID-19 outbreak. This Executive Circular 8 was issued on 25 March 2020.93 In particular, the MNB expected the funds to:

  • monitor their processes on a daily basis, with a special focus on the development of the reserves for provisions, and in case it may happen, report any anomaly to the MNB via the fund’s supervisor

  • pay special attention to the assets in their portfolio, with a special respect to the exchange rates that had become more volatile as a result of the virus

  • ensure daily business continuity and update their BCPs based on the current situation

  • keep the fund members and service providers informed by providing them with the most up-to-date information about the significant changes in the running of business and communications

  • take steps to ensure that services of the fund and communication can be available without keeping personal contact

  • pay special attention to risk management

  • take all reasonable measures to protect the employees.

In relation to the circular, the MNB sent a questionnaire containing 48 questions. Institutions were required to complete it on a daily or weekly basis, depending on the size of the fund. The questions aimed to assess the operational and liquidity situation of the institutions.

The MNB also proposed to remind pension fund members that it is not necessarily in their best interest to take their pension savings out of pension funds during the financial market downturn.

The MNB intended to pursue more intensive communication with its supervised entities within the framework of off-site supervision.

The MNB constantly assisted the institutions with legal interpretation and proposals to facilitate their operations.

The MNB also extended deadlines for meeting reporting requirements, in order to provide some flexibility to the entities it supervises. The deadlines were extended by one week for the information regarding the first quarter of 2020 and by four weeks for the information regarding annual reporting with reference to the year-end 2019.

The MNB also required extraordinary data in order to monitor the effects of COVID-19 on pension funds closely. The purpose of the extraordinary reporting was to monitor the payments to members (outflows) from pension funds continuously.

April 2020: The Hungarian Government issued regulations stipulating how to ensure the operating conditions of institutions in the situation caused by COVID-19 (Government Decree 102/2020 (IV.10)). These regulations contained rules applicable during the emergency situation, which apply, inter alia, to pension funds. Among other things, the provisions regulated the validity of mandates of members of the board of directors and the supervisory board and auditors; the way of holding general meetings, the possibilities of approving the annual report; and the borrowing conditions of funds within the monetary policy toolkit.

March 2020: The Directorate of Labour paid the wages and the pension contributions of employees in quarantine under the Wages in Quarantine Act.94 This Act applied from 1 February 2020 to 30 April 2020. Employers and employees could benefit from this measure only if employees could not perform their work while they were in quarantine. Employers were supposed to pay the salary of their employees and got reimbursed by the Directorate of Labour up to a certain amount. Wage payments could not exceed ISK 633 000 per month (or ISK 21 100 per day) per employee in quarantine. The Directorate of Labour paid both the mandatory 4% employee contributions and the 11.5% employer contributions to the pension fund the employee belongs to.

Second half of 2020: While this support for employees in quarantine was supposed to end initially during 2020, it was extended until 31 December 2021.95 Applications for payments had to be submitted to the Directorate of Labour by 1 April 2022. Employers applying for the subsidy could get up to ISK 21 100 for each day an employee did not work (because s/he was in quarantine or had a child in quarantine).96 The Directorate of Labour paid directly the part of the employers’ contributions (i.e. 11.5% of the subsidy) to the appropriate pension fund. To cover the employee’s share, 4% of the subsidies that was paid has to be transferred to the appropriate pension fund.

March 2020: The Icelandic government also provided support to employees when their employers requested them to work fewer hours. Employees were initially entitled to payments from the Directorate of Labour when their working hours were reduced by 20% but were still over or equal to 25% of a full-time job. The Directorate of Labour validated the application from the day employees began to work reduced hours or from 15 March 2020 at the earliest.97 The Directorate of Labour then paid partial unemployment benefits and an 11.5% matching pension contribution.98 The combination of the wages from the employer and partial unemployment benefits could neither exceed ISK 700 000 per month nor 90% of the average total wages of the employee. Wages lower than ISK 400 000 per month (for a full-time job) were not reduced. This measure was temporary and was initially supposed to be in force until 1 June 2020.

Second half of 2020: The Icelandic government extended the support measure for employees working fewer hours until 31 December 2020, with some changes in the conditions. Employees had to be working at least 50% of a full-time job (instead of 25%) to be eligible from 1 July 2020. Partial unemployment benefits from the Directorate of Labour could not exceed ISK 342 303 per employee either.

First half of 2021: Partial (or full) unemployment benefits were further extended until 31 May 2021.99 However, between 1 July 2020 and until 31 May 2021, employees had to have faced a minimum of 20% reduction in working hours while working at least 50% of a full-time job.100 The amount of unemployment benefits could not exceed ISK 228 202 for people with a 50% reduction in working hours, ISK 114 050 for people with a 25% reduction, and ISK 91 280 for people with a 20% reduction. The combination of unemployment benefits and salary could not exceed 90% of the average income of the employee in the last three months, nor be greater than ISK 700 000, nor be higher than 100% of the average income in the last three months for a full time job with an average income of ISK 400 000 or less. An 11.5% top-up of this subsidy was sent to the appropriate pension fund.101

March 2020: In consultation with the Central Bank of Iceland, pension funds stopped purchasing foreign currency from 17 March 2020 for three months.102

June 2020: The pause in pension funds’ foreign currency purchases was extended for another three months until 17 September 2020.

May 2020: Icelandic authorities have also allowed pension funds to own up to 35% of the units or shares of venture capital funds (instead of 20% before) as long as these investments do not exceed 1% of pension fund assets. This authorisation is valid until 1 January 2025.103

This policy aims at supporting the Icelandic financial system and its stability, as well as the economy.

April 2020: The Central Bank of Iceland issued a circular in April 2020 to give advice to the pensions industry.104 The circular touches upon the continuity of operations of pension providers, operational risks, and liquidity among other things. The Central Bank of Iceland also provided some flexibility to its supervised entities on deadlines for submission of reports.105

March 2020: The Icelandic government granted access to personal private pension savings as part of a response package to the COVID-19 crisis.106 Plan members were allowed to withdraw up to ISK 12 million from their voluntary personal pension savings. If they wished to withdraw this maximum amount, they received it over a 15-month period. If they withdrew less, the pay-out period was shortened proportionally. Each monthly payment could go up to ISK 800 000 and was taxed as regular income. Pension providers directly withheld the income tax from the payments to plan members. Plan members who wanted to benefit from this measure had to submit an application to their pension provider and could apply until 1 January 2021.

Second half of 2020: Access to personal private savings was extended for 2021.107

May 2021: Members have been allowed to apply for access to personal private savings until 1 January 2022.

ISK 23 billion have been withdrawn during 2020.108 According to data from the Central Bank of Iceland, as of September 2021, ISK 32.9 billion had been withdrawn.

If third-pillar pension savings withdrawals are large enough in scale that it becomes impossible to ensure equal treatment among pension fund members, custodians are authorised to delay the payments, provided that they satisfy certain conditions and obtain prior approval from FSA Iceland.109

March 2020: The Pensions Authority does not have the power to waive obligations set out in pensions legislation, thus there has been no change in statutory obligations for supervised entities. However, in acknowledging the significant challenges faced by pension schemes, the Pensions Authority took into account the circumstances when assessing compliance with legislative requirements, including compliance with disclosure and member communication obligations.110 In its public announcements, the Pensions Authority outlined its expectations that supervised entities would engage with relevant stakeholders, communicate major issues, get appropriate professional advice and be proactive and consumer focused. The Pensions Authority issued guidance on a number of issues raised by the industry, including communications with members, employers and service providers, investment decisions and, in particular, pension scheme contributions.

April 2020: The Pensions Authority advised trustees of both DB and DC schemes that the following matters should be considered by employers/trustees in consultation with their advisers:111

  • scheme rules, in particular in relation to contribution cessation or reduction and notice periods

  • provisions of employment contracts relating to pensions

  • the obligation under section 58A of the Pensions Act to make any employer defined contribution payment due

  • possible impact on death in service benefits

  • possible impact on insured DC schemes if regular contributions cease

  • engagement with/communications to affected employees.

In addition, the Pensions Authority outlined a number of matters that should be taken into account specifically by DB schemes, including:

  • the effect of any suspension on the ability of the scheme to meet its benefit obligations

  • the contributions required under a funding proposal

  • whether ongoing contributions are necessary to meet current pension payments

  • whether a suspension of contributions would unfairly affect a particular class of members.

May 2020: The Pensions Authority started a programme of direct engagement with key regulated entities to discuss the impact of the current conditions on their ability to provide services to pension schemes.112 This engagement aimed at focusing on areas such as:

  • impact on core business and business continuity

  • interaction with scheme stakeholders, i.e. trustees, employers, investment managers etc.

  • queries and complaints from members

  • receipt and investment of contributions

  • notable trends amongst scheme members, e.g. fund switches, request for transfers etc.

First half of 2020: The Ministry of Finance gave several instructions to financial institutions. Financial institutions were urged to focus and maintain their activities and provision of services to clients, in particular regular annuity payments, cash redemption and claim settlement. The Ministry of Finance also requested financial institutions to expand services that could be provided through digital tools.

The Ministry of Finance put resources in the close monitoring of the activities of institutional bodies and their ability to continue to work during times of crisis.

Supervisory requirements have been adjusted to take into account the COVID-19 context. For example, there was a temporary exemption from the requirement of a physical meeting of the Board of Directors and its committees once a quarter.

First half of 2020: Israeli authorities amended some investment regulations applying to institutional investors in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Institutional investors have been allowed to hold up to 49% of a single corporate bond series (instead of 25%). Institutional investors can also hold 7.5% of the means of control of other investors (instead of 5%).

March 2020: The Capital Market, Insurance and Savings Authority (CMISA) warned the public about misinformation on the selected default pension providers.113 Rumours and statements pretended that these default providers lacked insurance coverage in case of pandemics. The CMISA clarified that this information was incorrect and that pandemics were not excluded from insurance coverage for these providers.

The CMISA also warned savers against attempts to provide false financial advice.114 The CMISA identified attempts to impersonate and publish false financial advice to cause panic and persuade individuals to quickly withdraw funds and liquid their savings. The CMISA warned the public about imposters who provide general or individual advice regarding savings, including pension savings, that are not licensed and do not conduct the required examination of individuals’ needs.

October 2020: The Ministry of Finance allowed the self-employed to withdraw up to one-third of their savings from their mandatory pension plans.115 It became mandatory for the self-employed to contribute to a pension plan in 2017. The 2017 law specified that two-thirds of the contributions would be set aside for retirement while one-third could be used in case of unemployment. However, in practice, the regulation that was supposed to let the self-employed actually withdraw a part of their savings because of unemployment had not been implemented yet. This changed as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

March 2020: Institutional bodies could provide loans to members against existing savings. The repayment could be spread in instalments over a longer period (15 years instead of 7). Individuals could also use their pension annuity as a collateral for a loan.

September 2020: A directive stipulated that an institutional body would not be entitled to raise the rate of management fees for savers for which pension savings contributions stopped for a period of 12 months from the date of cessation of contribution, instead of six months in the existing directive. This applied to employees for whom the pension savings contributions were discontinued from 1 March 2020 until 31 October 2020.

March 2021: In order to safeguard the rights of savers when dealing with the consequences of the COVID-19 crisis, the supervisor of CMISA called on the institutional bodies to continue to act in solidarity with savers who stopped paying pension contributions and to set a management fee cap for these savers up to the average management fees charged by the body from all savers.116 All institutional bodies, without exception, responded positively to the commissioner’s request and replied that they would join the authority’s initiative to maintain solidarity with savers in times of crisis.

March 2020: The Supervisory Commission of Italian Pension Funds (COVIP) extended several reporting deadlines of the institutions it supervises.117 For example, COVIP postponed the submission of the 2019 financial statements of open pension funds from 31 March 2020 to 30 June 2020.118

COVIP also postponed the date it expected the usual payment of the supervisory commission from pension funds from 15 May to 15 September 2020.119

To ensure business continuity, COVIP also provided guidance to Italian pension funds for easing remote participation to Board meetings and the use of digital channels for exchanging information with financial managers, service providers and members.120

First half of 2020: The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) stated that it was ready to refrain from taking regulatory action if pension providers did not submit reporting requirements on time.

First half of 2020: The MHLW provided advice on how institutions could continue to operate in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak. For example, boards were allowed to hold meeting in other ways than physical meetings.

First half of 2021: The MHLW allowed some flexibility regarding contributions to defined benefit (DB) plans. DB funds could postpone raising their contributions for one year from April 2021 to March 2022 if the employer could not afford to pay the contribution rise following the actuarial valuation of the DB plans. This measure intended to provide some relief to employers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

April 2020: The financial authorities announced on 17 April 2020 a set of temporary deregulatory measures on financial institutions’ capital adequacy, liquidity and asset quality requirements to help boost their financing capacity amid the COVID-19 crisis.121

Financial regulators also provided exemptions from sanctions. For example, no penalties or administrative sanctions applied for failing to meet disclosure or business report deadlines.

August 2020: The Financial Services Commission (FSC) announced its decision to extend some of the interim deregulatory measures introduced on 17 April in order to continue to support the financial sector amid a protracted pandemic situation.122

September 2021: The FSC decided to extend the period on some of the pandemic response deregulatory measures.123

April 2020: The Minister of Welfare provided members of the state funded pension scheme with the option of delaying their pension pay-out choice. At retirement, individuals usually have two options. They can either use the assets in their funded pension scheme to purchase a life annuity from a life insurance company, or add these assets to their notional DC account to get a public pension based on their notional and financial capital. As a response to the COVID-19 crisis, people who were reaching retirement were given the right to postpone their choice until 30 November 2021. If they did not make a choice, assets in their funded pension scheme will be transferred to their notional account from 1 January 2022 and they will receive a public pension.

March 2020: The Financial and Capital Market Commission (FCMC) announced it would take a flexible and individual approach in its supervision of financial market participants.124

December 2020: In line with the recommendations from European authorities, the FCMC called credit institutions and insurance companies to refrain paying dividend or be cautious when doing so until 30 September 2021.125

The objective of this recommendation is to ensure that institutions maintain a sufficient level of capital to be able to withstand potential losses in the future.

April 2020: The Bank of Lithuania, which, among other financial market participants, supervises pension funds, adjusted some of its supervisory activities following the COVID-19 outbreak. For example, the Bank of Lithuania postponed the planned inspections of pension funds until the situation regarding the coronavirus became clearer.126 It also informed the pension accumulation companies about the flexible approach it would take regarding compliance with the reporting deadlines. The Bank of Lithuania intensified communication with companies in order to find out possible threats and risks to pension fund participants.

March 2020: The Bank of Lithuania recommended individuals with assets in pension funds to resist to the temptation to reduce investment risk and transfer their assets to lower-risk funds.127 It provided a Q&A page for individuals to better understand why asset values vary and why it is important to keep paying contributions and not reduce investment risk when markets fall.

July 2020: The Insurance Commission of Luxembourg (CAA) advised insurance companies to withhold paying dividends and refrain from share buy-backs from 1 August 2020 until 1 January 2021.128

January 2021: The CAA published a Circular Letter in January 2021, extending the restrictions applicable to insurance companies on making dividend payments and other distributions until 30 September 2021.129

The CAA authorised the dividend payments and other distributions under exceptional circumstances. Companies had to take extreme care in the decision to make the payments, and these payments should not have led to a violation of the approved risk tolerance limits relating to the own risk and solvency assessment of the company. Insurance companies meeting these conditions had to notify the CAA, provide a description of the impact of the payments on the solvency and liquidity of the company, and update the stress tests.

If insurance companies wanted to make dividend and distribution payments even if they did not meet the conditions for exceptional payments, they had to request for a derogation to the CAA at least 30 days in advance and explain the rationale of these payments.

March 2020: National authorities in Luxembourg provided pension providers with some flexibility to meet their reporting requirements. The Luxembourg Financial Supervisory Authority (CSSF) announced it would not use its enforcing powers over supervised entities that experienced a delay in meeting their reporting requirements if they duly explained the reasons for this delay.130 Pension funds under the supervision of the CSSF could submit their quarterly reporting until 20 July 2020 (instead of 20 days after the end of the quarter) and their actuarial report until 30 September 2020 (instead of end-June).131 They simply had to inform the CSSF by email if they needed this extra time to fulfil their reporting duties. Likewise, the CAA extended some of its reporting deadlines that pension funds under its supervision had to meet (e.g. quarterly IORP 2 reporting).132

March 2020: As part of the adaptation of their working environment in response to the COVID-19 situation, supervised entities may opt for cloud-based tools and solutions (e.g. collaborative tools, virtual desktop infrastructure, etc.). To facilitate a rapid implementation of these solutions, prior authorisation by, or notification to, the CSSF is not required as long as this exceptional situation lasts. A simple communication by email to the CSSF’s contact agent of the concerned entity is considered sufficient.133 This is without prejudice to the entity’s obligation to carry out appropriate due diligence and risk assessment of such cloud outsourcing.

April 2020: The CAA issued warnings about scams on its website.134 It published on its website the name of former insurance companies that scammers may be using to rip people off.

March 2020: The Mexican Pension Fund Supervisory Authority (CONSAR) announced several measures that pension fund administrators (AFOREs) had to follow.135 CONSAR listed the operations that had to be maintained at all times, such as the receipt and remittance of contributions to individual accounts.

Some operations could be adjusted to take into account the COVID-19 context. For instance, the ordinary or extraordinary sessions of the Investment and Risk Committees of the Administrators could be held remotely.

CONSAR suspended on-site inspections.

March 2020: CONSAR requested the procedure of partial savings withdrawals from pension plans due to unemployment to be settled in a single appointment.136 The Mexican pension system allows people to make partial withdrawals of their assets in individual accounts in the case of unemployment. People are entitled to these partial withdrawals when they have been unemployed for at least 46 days and have not already used this possibility within the last five years. Given the COVID-19 outbreak, CONSAR expected eligible individuals requesting access to their savings to receive the amount in a one-off payment.

This measure was put in place for precautionary health reasons. It intended to avoid people going multiple times in the same premises to request early withdrawals of their assets.

However, CONSAR encouraged people to keep assets in their plans and refrain from making early withdrawals during the outbreak to avoid materialising the investment losses on financial markets.137

March 2020: CONSAR allowed private pension fund administrators (AFORES) to send simplified reports instead of the regular ones if they requested so.138 However, CONSAR expected the AFORES to submit their reports within the usual timeframe and deadlines through the Electronic Information System.

March 2020: The Dutch government announced that it would pay the salary and cover pension contributions for the workers of eligible companies during the outbreak for three months initially.139 This policy response was part of the temporary emergency measure for the preservation of jobs (NOW) scheme. The government intended to pay the wages of employees between March and May 2020, up to 90% of the wage bill of the company depending on its loss of revenue. The government added a 30% top-up to this compensation amount to cover employer and employee pension contributions and other payroll charges.140 The Employee Insurance Agency was in charge of making these payments to companies.

To be eligible for this help, companies needed to meet certain criteria. This help was available to companies expecting to lose 20% or more of their revenue compared to their quarterly average revenue in 2019. To be eligible for this help, companies could not fire any employee for economic reasons either.141

June 2020: This measure was extended a first time by four additional months (NOW 2).142 The government top-up covering pension contributions and other payroll charges increased from 30% to 40% of the compensation amount for this new period (June-September 2020).

August 2020: The government extended this measure again by three more periods of three months, starting from 1 October 2020 (NOW 3).143 The eligibility condition remained the same as before (at least 20% loss of revenue) for the period October-December 2020 (NOW 3.1). However, eligible employers only received up to 80% of their wage bill (instead of 90%). The government was planning to reduce the compensation amount to 70% of the wage bill for the period January-March 2021 (NOW 3.2), and to 60% for April-June 2021 (NOW 3.3). The subsidy was also supposed to be only available to companies experiencing a 30% loss of revenue at least from January 2021. The gradual reduction of the subsidy was expected to give time to employers to adapt to changing circumstances.144

December 2020: The government decided in December 2020 not to change the subsidy and conditions for the period January-March 2021.145 The top-up to cover pension contributions and other payroll charges remained the same, at 40% of the compensation amount for the whole period (from October 2020 to June 2021).

January 2021: NOW grants, which enabled employers to continue paying their employees’ salaries, were increased from 80% to 85% of the wage bill.146 The amount by which the wage bill could be reduced without affecting the grant amount – the wage bill exemption – remained at 10%.147 NOW grants for January, February and March 2021 could be applied for from 15 February 2021.

May 2021: The government extended the support package for jobs and the economy into the third quarter of 2021.148 The government intended to discontinue the generic support measures, with effect from 1 October 2021.149 However, due to rising COVID-19 cases and additional containment measures, the package continued through Q4 2021 and Q1 2022.150

April 2020: The Dutch Central Bank (DNB), which supervises pension funds, adjusted and relaxed some of its supervisory rules.151 The DNB postponed the deadlines of the annual reporting of pension funds by three months. Pension funds could submit their annual reports by 30 September 2020. The DNB was also ready to give more time to pension funds to submit their monthly and quarterly reports if they requested so.

The DNB allowed pension funds to deviate from their strategic investment policies temporarily. However, this deviation should be the result of a well-considered decision-making process.

The DNB also adapted its supervisory activities and turned its attention to ongoing specific risks for the pension sector, such as business continuity management, cyber risks, or the fall of the funding ratio resulting from developments in financial markets.

September 2020: At the end of 2019, the Social Affairs Minister granted underfunded pension funds a temporary one-year reprieve from implementing cuts of pension rights and benefits, lowering the minimum required funding to 90% for 2020. In light of the macroeconomic situation, he extended this reprieve to 2021.152

March 2020: The Commission for Financial Capabilities is providing financial guidance to people in New Zealand through its ‘Sorted’ website at: https://sorted.org.nz/. This website can help people manage their money and plan for retirement.

This website included a page advising people on how to manage assets in their KiwiSaver plans during the COVID-19 outbreak.153 The page explains the consequences of withdrawing assets from the plans or changing investment strategies.

April 2020: The ‘Sorted’ website also included a page warning people about scams related to COVID-19.154 The page gives the methods that scammers use, such as: phishing emails, offer of a coronavirus map app to download malicious softwares, investment offers in ‘safe havens’, phone calls. It gives tips to help people avoid traps.

August 2021: Additional guidance was provided on the ‘Sorted’ website to assist people to manage their money during the COVID-19 crisis.155 In particular, this page recommends people to consider carefully before withdrawing funds from their KiwiSaver plan. The same warning was made on the website of the Financial Markets Authority.156

This website is a tool to provide clear and simple information. It intends to help plan members to make informed decisions on the management of their retirement savings and to avoid scams.

March 2020: Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 crisis, the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) provided subsidies for salaries and wages to eligible employers upon application, which also covered employee pension contributions. Employers who were entitled to a subsidy and received it had to pass it onto employees by paying them their regular wages. Employers had to deduct employee contributions to KiwiSaver accounts from wages and transfer these contributions to the Inland Revenue, in charge of channelling them to the pension provider of employees.

New Zealand designed and introduced two main types of subsidies that employers could be eligible to receive during the outbreak:

  • a COVID-19 Wage Subsidy to support companies who faced laying off or reducing hours of their employees because of the outbreak157

  • a COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme to help companies to pay employees who could not come to work because of social distancing measures and who could not work from home.158

Both subsidies have been paid at the same flat rate. The rate was initially NZD 585.80 for people working 20 hours or more per week (full-time rate), and NZD 350 for people working less than 20 hours (part-time rate). Since 24 August 2021, the rate is NZD 600 a week for each full-time worker and NZD 359 for part-time workers, for the COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme. The COVID-19 Wage Subsidy uses that rate since its August 2021 extension.

Employers have been expected to pay employees their usual wages – from which employee contributions are deducted – with the subsidy and satisfy all additional features of the employee’s remuneration package, including employer contributions to their pension plan. However, the subsidy may be less than the usual wage of the employee. In that case, employers must undertake best endeavours to pay the employee at least 80% of their usual wage or at the very least the payment rate. If an employee’s usual wage is less than the subsidy, they should be paid their usual wages, with the employer expected to use the difference for the wages of other affected staff. The subsidy is still subject to standard KiwiSaver contributions.159

Several changes were made to both subsidies, as explained below.

March 2020: The 2020 COVID-19 Wage Subsidy was available to employers in New Zealand under certain conditions. To be eligible for this subsidy, the company initially needed to comply with all the following requirements: i) being registered and operating in New Zealand with employees legally working in New Zealand; ii) experiencing at least a 30% decline in actual or predicted revenue over a month from January 2020 compared to the same period in 2019; iii) taking active steps to mitigate the impact of COVID-19; and iv) retaining the employees for which a subsidy is requested for during the period of the subsidy. Employers could apply to this Wage Subsidy until 10 June 2020.

The Wage subsidy was paid for 12 weeks. An employer receiving this subsidy could not request it a second time for the same employee.

June 2020: A Wage Subsidy Extension was available from 10 June to 1 September 2020 to support employers (including the self-employed) who were still significantly impacted by COVID-19.160 One of the eligibility criteria changed as employers had to experience (or expect) a minimum of 40% decline in revenue because of COVID-19 (instead of 30% before) over a period of 30 continuous days (after 10 May 2020 and in the 40 days before application to the subsidy) compared to the closest period in 2019.

The Wage Subsidy Extension helped employers to pay 8 weeks of wages for their employees.

August 2020: New Zealand then introduced a Resurgence Wage Subsidy, available between 21 August and 3 September 2020 for employers who were not getting a wage subsidy.161 Employers had to experience (or expect) a revenue drop of at least 40% (due to COVID-19) for a 14-day period between 12 August and 10 September 2020, compared to a similar period in 2019.

The Resurgence Wage Subsidy was a 2-week payment.

March 2021: The Wage Subsidy March 2021 was intended to help employers keep their staff and protect jobs that were impacted by the changes in alert level on 28 February 2021.162 This subsidy was a 2-week lump sum available from 4 March 2021 to 21 March 2021. Employers had to have or expect to have a 40% decline in revenue over 14 days in a row between 28 February and 21 March 2021 compared to a typical 14-day period between 4 January and 14 February 2021 to be eligible for the subsidy. Employers with highly seasonal revenue could compare their decline in revenue to the same 14-day period in 2019 or 2020. The decline of the revenue must also be related to the rise to the alert level on 28 February 2021. Employers also had to keep the employees for which they requested the subsidy, and pay at least 80% of their salary or the rate of the subsidy.

August 2021: The Wage Subsidy August 2021 was a payment to support employers, so they can continue to pay employees and protect jobs for businesses affected by the move to Alert Level 4 on 17 August 2021. The payment was a lump sum covering a 2-week period for employers who had or predicted to have a decline in revenue of at least 40% over the period between 17 August and 30 August 2021 compared to a typical 14-day consecutive period of revenue in the six weeks immediately before the move to Alert Level 4 on 17 August 2021. The Wage Subsidy Scheme will be available to all businesses while any part of the country is in Alert Levels 3 or 4.

March 2020: The government established the COVID-19 Essential Workers Leave Support Scheme, earmarked for workers in essential businesses.163 The Health Act defines essential businesses as companies that are essential to the provision of the necessities of life, as well as companies that support the former. All these companies operate in the following sectors mainly: food, health care, energy, waste-removal, internet and financial support. Essential companies could request this type of subsidy for their employees who could not come to work and could not work from home.164

The Essential Worker Leave Support was for 4 weeks, but employers could apply to get this subsidy again for the same employee.

May 2020: The eligibility conditions to get a leave support changed. The Essential Worker Leave Support Scheme was extended to all employers (including the self-employed) from 1 May 2020 and was renamed the Leave Support Scheme. The requirement for a company to be financially impacted by COVID-19 was removed at 1 pm on 21 August 2020.

September 2020: The government introduced new changes in September, by expanding the eligibility to workers who were told to self-isolate by a doctor or health official and could not work from home.165 Employers could also request this subsidy for parents and caregivers who could not go to work because they were taking care of a self-isolated dependent. This latest change was effective from midday 28 September 2020.

The Leave Support Scheme was paid as a lump sum and covered 4 weeks per employee before 28 September 2020, and 2 weeks afterwards. Employers can re-apply to the Leave Support Scheme for the same employee if the eligibility criteria are still met. This scheme is still running.

February 2021: New Zealand also has a COVID-19 Short-term Absence Payment for employers to pay their employees who cannot work from home while waiting for the result of their COVID-19 test.166 The payment is a one-off lump sum of NZD 359 per eligible employee since 24 August 2021 (NZD 350 before).

February 2022: New Zealand introduced a new support payment for eligible businesses during the Omicron outbreak. Eligible businesses could receive payments of NZD 4 000 per business plus NZD 400 per full-time employee (FTE), capped at 50 FTEs or NZD 24 000.167 Payments to employees would also include employee pension contributions.

April 2020: New Zealand extended the terms of KiwiSaver default providers.168 Individuals aged between 18 and 65 are randomly enrolled in a KiwiSaver default fund when they start working, unless they actively choose a fund or opt-out. The default providers are selected by the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. The term of the nine default providers was originally supposed to expire on 30 June 2021, but was extended by five months to 30 November 2021.

The selection process of the default providers for a new term was delayed. The government released a request for proposals to appoint the next group of KiwiSaver default providers on 1 October 2020 (instead of during the first half of 2020 as initially planned). Since 1 December 2021, there are six default providers.

This deferral in the selection process of default providers aimed at allowing pension providers to focus their efforts on continuing to operate smoothly.

April 2020: KiwiSaver plan members wishing to access their savings under financial hardship circumstances have to complete a statutory declaration about their assets and liabilities in front of a witness authorised under the Oaths and Declarations Act 1957 and show that they have explored other options to get funding.

In light of the COVID-19 epidemic, a temporary law change was made to the requirements for witnessing declarations under the Oaths and Declarations Act. The change makes it clear that there is no requirement for a person witnessing a declaration to be in the physical presence of the person making it. The person witnessing the declaration is also not required to physically sign the same document as the person making it. Instead, oaths, affirmations or declarations can be administered using audio-visual or audio links, such over Skype, Zoom, Facetime, or over the phone.169

Taking into account this change, the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) of New Zealand has provided guidance to supervisors and pension providers for alternative steps to verify that plan members are entitled to financial hardship withdrawals.170 In the lockdown context, the FMA recommends that lawyers witness the statutory declaration of the applicant by video. If this is not possible, the pension provider has to use the best alternative to verify the identity of the application in these exceptional circumstances. The applicant also has to provide evidence of his (or her) assets and liabilities to the provider and can as a last resort communicate this information over the phone if the provider agrees that there is no way to send this information by post or email.

However, the FMA has urged plan members to use hardship withdrawals as a last resort and try to use governmental assistance measures first.171

April 2020: The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) provided regulatory relief to market participants to give them an additional two months to comply with certain financial reporting and other obligations under the Financial Markets Conduct Act and Regulations, if their ability to produce financial statements was legitimately impacted by COVID-19.

The FMA also took a “no action” approach against a breach of a statutory or regulatory obligation.172 This approach is aimed at allowing market participants to continue focusing on serving their customers’ needs. The expectation remains that participants should be treating their customers fairly at all times and that where possible, breaches will be remediated at a later date, and as such the requirement to comply is being delayed rather than removed. Market participants are also expected to take steps to mitigate any risks resulting from the breach.

April 2020: On 17 April 2020, it became possible for employers to decide whether temporarily laid-off employees could remain members of their pension plan.173 This measure applied to employers whose pension arrangement did not already allow them to choose to keep temporary laid-off employees as members of their plan. Employers did not have to pay pension contributions, but employees retained insurance cover. Moreover, employers had to pay for the administration and management of the plan of their laid-off employees. This measure was initially planned to apply during six months.174

October 2020: This measure was extended on 9 October 2020 until 30 June 2021.175

June 2021: This measure was extended until 30 September 2021.176

September 2021: The government extended the duration of the temporary legislative changes that gave employers the opportunity to decide that laid-off employees could continue as members of the pension scheme until 31 October 2021.177

October 2021: This measure was further extended to 31 December 2021.178

March 2020: The Norwegian Ministry of Finance recommended insurance companies to postpone decisions on dividend payments and other distributions of profits until the high uncertainty about the economic outlook was reduced.179 The Ministry of Finance did not legislate on this aspect but expected insurance companies to follow the recommendation.

The Financial Supervisory Authority of Norway (Finanstilsynet) supported EIOPA’s advice for a cautious and conservative approach to paying dividends. However, Finanstilsynet did not set a limit with respect to the proportion of dividends that could be distributed by insurance companies (unlike for Norwegian banks).180 Profit distributions had to be assessed against the financial strength of the companies. Finanstilsynet had to be informed of the intention of insurance companies to pay dividends and could forbid it in case of insufficient financial strength.181

March 2020: Finanstilsynet postponed the deadlines for the submission of annual reports.182 The Financial Supervisory Authority has followed EIOPA’s guidelines and extended deadlines for insurance companies to comply with Solvency II reporting requirements.183

March 2020: The Polish Financial Supervision Authority (KNF) intended to take a case-by-case approach when pension companies exceeded investment limits. The KNF adapted its supervisory measures to the market situation.

March 2020: The KNF extended the reporting deadlines for open pension funds and employee pension funds. These pension funds had two more months than originally scheduled to return their annual financial reports.184

The KNF also postponed and adjusted some supervisory actions, such as on-site inspections, to allow supervised entities to focus on key processes and day-to-day operations. The KNF has been taking a pragmatic approach to some supervisory deadlines, such as the deadlines for the implementation of post-inspection recommendations, in relation to the initial deadlines.

The KNF adapted its communication process with its supervised entities in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak. It enables its supervised entities to use digital channels of communication only.

The KNF requested its supervised entities to follow suitable procedures to maintain business continuity during the COVID-19 outbreak.

March 2020: Employers with 50 or more employees at the end of June 2019 were given six additional months to enrol automatically their employees into an Employee Capital Plan (PPK). These employers had until 27 October 2020 to sign a PPK management contract and until 10 November 2020 to sign a PPK operating contract.185

In accordance with Article 25(4) of the PPK Act, employers fulfilling certain criteria can benefit from the exemption of contributions to a PPK.186 According to this provision, which was particularly relevant during the COVID-19 crisis, employers may not finance PPK contributions in the following cases:

  • introducing economic downtime or reduced working hours

  • fulfilling the conditions for employer’s insolvency

  • during periods of temporary cessation or limitation of business activity as a result of flooding and lack of funds for the payment of salaries to employees.

The exemption from paying PPK contributions also applies to participants employed by these employers. However, they may continue paying their contributions by submitting a declaration to the employer.

March 2021: A reform involving the transformation of open pension funds (OFE) into specialised open-end investment funds was postponed. Implementing the reform as originally scheduled (1 July 2020) could have been financially unfavourable for members of pension funds as well as for the state budget (due to stock exchange market turmoil). The new Act came into force on 1 June 2021. OFE participants had until 2 August 2021 to submit declarations regarding transferring their savings to the Social Insurance Institution (ZUS).187 By default, their money was transferred to an Individual Retirement Pension Account (IKE).

April 2020: The Portuguese Insurance and Pension Funds Supervisory Authority (ASF) advised pension fund management entities to be flexible on the treatment of plan members and beneficiaries’ needs, with a particular focus on the communication to members, beneficiaries and sponsors of pension funds.188

In this respect, when there was an intention to exercise the switching option (where applicable), pension fund management entities were expected to reinforce the need for prior contact with the sponsors or members, in order to promote their full understanding of the exceptional situation brought by COVID-19.

Pension fund management entities were also required to disclose their contingency plans on their websites, in order to inform members and beneficiaries of all the measures taken that could affect the contractual obligations that were established.

April 2020: The ASF advised pension fund management entities, in its Circular Letter No 4/2020 of 2  April, to withhold dividend payments to their shareholders.189

August 2020: The ASF reiterated this advice in its Circular Letter No 10/2020 of 26 August.190

December 2020: The ASF issued a circular (Circular No 5/2020 of 23 December) providing guidance and recommendations to pension management companies with respect to dividend payments and other distributions.191 Pension management companies should remain careful when distributing profits and strive to maintain or reinforce their capital. The ASF recommended pension providers to have a forward-looking approach when assessing their capital needs, based on scenarios on the evolution of the economy and financial markets. Pension management companies had to inform the ASF before distributing profits.

The ASF issued a similar recommendation for insurance companies (Circular No. 4/2020 of 21 December).192

April 2020: In April 2020, the ASF suspended or cancelled scheduled supervisory on-site actions, in order to allow pension fund management entities to focus on their activities and to secure business continuity (Circular Letter No 4/2020 of 2 April).193

August 2020: The ASF announced in its Circular Letter No 10/2020 of 26 August 2020, that on-site inspections would resume from September.194

April 2020: The ASF extended deadlines for reporting requirements. The ASF published a set of new deadlines (such as for accounting and financial information) in a Circular Letter to the industry in April 2020.195

August 2020: The ASF asked pension funds management entities on 26 August 2020 to comply again with the regular deadlines.196

April 2020: The ASF expected pension fund management entities to report any serious disruption in their activities or with regard to the operation of the pension funds under management due to the outbreak. These disruptions could affect the financial and liquidity position of pension funds and, eventually, could also compromise the rules of proper functioning in the market conduct area, undermining the protection of members and beneficiaries. The ASF established an extraordinary reporting to collect information on the financial, liquidity and solvency position of pension funds and also an extraordinary reporting of some quantitative and qualitative indicators related to market conduct.197

The ASF also recommended pension fund management entities to monitor early withdrawals from PPR pension funds closely.198 The ASF recalled the importance of explaining the impact of early withdrawals and the amount of loss to plan members.

This extraordinary monitoring provided a tool for pension fund management entities and the supervisor to detect problems due to the outbreak and take action as necessary to safeguard the interest of plan members.

April 2020: The Law no. 7/2020, of 10 April 2020, temporarily extended the conditions for early withdrawals in PPR without tax penalties to certain situations.199 Plan members could withdraw savings up to EUR 438.81 if they:

  • were in prophylactic or illness isolation

  • were providing assistance to children, grandchildren or another dependent

  • had suffered a reduction of the normal working period or had their employment contract suspended, due to the economic crisis

  • were registered unemployed

  • were eligible for financial support to self-employed workers, or were workers from entities whose establishment, or activity, had been closed by legal or administrative imposition.

These broadened conditions were supposed to apply until 30 September 2020. For contracts opened up to 31 March 2020, the tax penalty for early withdrawal was not applicable.

July 2020: The promulgation of the Supplementary budget extended this measure until the end of 2020, and also added another circumstance under which members could benefit from this measure: tenants with difficulties in paying their rents who have been forced to apply to moratoriums and loan applications with the Housing and Urban Rehabilitation Institute (IHRU).

December 2020: The measure was further extended by Law No. 75-B/2020 approving the state budget for 2021 and establishing exceptional rules for people to access their retirement savings until 30 September 2021.200

Plan members could withdraw up to the monthly limit of the Social Support Index, currently at EUR 438.81, except if they needed their savings to pay their rent. The limit raised to EUR 658.22 in this last case. Members did not have to pay a tax penalty on this withdrawal if they had opened the plan by 31 March 2020.

Institutions offering retirement savings arrangements from which early withdrawals are possible were required to inform their clients about this option on their website and in the pension statement to their members.

March 2020: The state approved in March 2020 the “First Aid” package of economic measures to help employees, businesses and the self-employed. Direct support and aid for employers and the self-employed was managed through six measures:201

  • Measure 1: Employers who were forced to shut down their operations based on the measures of the Slovak Public Health Authority and employers with furloughed workers could receive a compensation allowance of 80% of the employee’s average salary, up to a maximum of EUR 1 100

  • Measure 2: Self-employed workers with a drop in revenues of at least 20% (10% in March) could receive a flat-rate allowance of EUR 180 to EUR 540 (EUR 90 to EUR 270 in March), depending on the extent of revenue drop

  • Measure 3A: Employers whose activity was affected by the economic slowdown could receive a compensation allowance of 80% of the employee’s average salary, up to a maximum of EUR 880

  • Measure 3B: Employers that recorded a drop in revenues of at least 20% (10% in March) could receive a flat-rate allowance of between EUR 180 and EUR 540 (EUR 90 to EUR 270 in March) per worker, depending on the extent of revenue drop, up to 80% of the average employee’s wage

  • Measure 4A: Self-employed workers could receive a flat contribution of EUR 210 (EUR 105 in March)

  • Measure 4B: Single-member private limited liability companies could receive a flat contribution of EUR 210 (EUR 105 in March).

For the compensation allowances, the salary taken into account was the employee’s monthly gross salary, i.e. before tax but including the employer’s social security contributions.202 This, therefore, includes contributions to second pillar pension funds for participating employees.

The period for which the measures were in force was extended several times in order to support the segments of the economy that continued being exposed to the decline in economic activity related to the COVID-19 pandemic. As of 15 July 2020, the Government of the Slovak Republic had decreed that the measures would remain in force until 30 September 2020.

November 2020: The “First Aid Plus” scheme was launched in November 2020, extending the original scheme from October 2020 until the end of March 2021. The revamped scheme extended eligibility criteria to cover a broader range of affected employers, who were entitled to increased assistance. The different measures were amended as follows:203

  • Measure 1 and measure 3A: The compensation allowance of 80% of the employee’s average earnings increased to 80% of the total labour costs of the employee, up to a maximum of EUR 1 100

  • Measure 2 and measure 3B: Depending on the decrease in revenues, the financial contribution for employers and self-employed individuals increased by 50%, ranging from EUR 270 to EUR 810

  • Measure 4A and measure 4B: The flat-rate contribution increased to EUR 315.

February 2021: On 2 February 2021, the Government of the Slovak Republic approved the “First Aid ++” projects, which increased and expanded financial aid for employers and self-employed individuals to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.204 The different measures changed as follows:

  • Measure 1 and measure 3A: The compensation allowance increased to 100% of the total labour costs of the employee, up to a maximum of EUR 1 100. The sum of the aid granted as of February 2021 may not exceed the limit of EUR 1.8 million per undertaking. If the applicant exceeded the set limit, the compensation allowance was reduced to 80% of the total labour costs205

  • Measure 2 and measure 3B: Depending on the decrease in revenues, the financial contribution for employers and self-employed individuals increased again, ranging from EUR 330 to EUR 870

  • Measure 4A and measure 4B: The flat-rate contribution increased to EUR 360.

August 2021: Based on the adopted resolution of the Government of the Slovak Republic dated 10 August 2021, the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family of the Slovak Republic changes the conditions for the payment of “First Aid” contributions for eligible applicants from 1 September 2021 in connection with the adopted change of the COVID-19 automat, which defines the epidemiological situation in each district.206 Depending on the epidemiological situation, rules from the “First Aid”, “First Aid Plus” or “First Aid ++” apply.207

April 2020: Pension fund management companies and supplementary pension management companies were requested to provide the regulator with new extraordinary reporting introduced during the pandemic at a high frequency. This request aimed at helping to monitor the situation with respect to supervisory board meetings and investment decisions, capital position, eligible own funds, observation of lapses and surrenders, funds return in guaranteed bond funds, performance and risk (potential loss/maximum loss).

The National Bank of the Slovak Republic (NBS) monitored the fulfilment of all obligations of the supervised entities to ensure the continuity of key operational activities and the protection of long-term interests of savers. Savers had to be provided with relevant and transparent information, including on their investment options/situation, to discourage potential short-term decisions in the current situation. The NBS monitored the investment decisions and asset allocation of pension funds to ensure savings of members were protected.

The NBS urged pension fund managers to communicate with savers at an increased pace, even in times of emergency, and to explain them that a decrease in asset value may, in some cases, lead to a possible impact on the amount of savings of pension savers, future retirement income or motivation of early withdrawal. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the possibility to physically meet a client was extremely limited, therefore the NBS recommended using digital communication tools and publishing information on the administrator’s website.

Act No. 67/2020 Coll. also allowed the NBS to suspend sanctions and extend deadlines for acts or obligations arising from special regulations if circumstances related to the pandemic prevented them from being complied with.208

2021: The beginning of 2021 was marked by the tightening of anti-pandemic measures due to the worsening epidemic situation. This, however, did not have a significant impact on the activities of the supervision of pension savings. The second wave of the pandemic, along with the related closure of the economy and reduced mobility, redirected the activities of pension administrators to a secure online space, and the supervisory activities of the NBS focused on off-site supervision.

The priorities of supervision remained unchanged, as a regular monitoring of supervised entities focusing on the development of financial indicators, liquidity, operational capability, and communication with their clients continued. In the pension savings sector, the NBS focused primarily on the challenges that may have arisen in connection with possible scenarios for the development of COVID-19 in order to maintain business processes and ensure the protection of the rights of savers, participants and beneficiaries. In May 2021, the NBS, in agreement with the supervised entities, abolished the obligations to provide extraordinary information and data for supervisory purposes. The reason for the abolition of the monitoring obligation was the improving situation in the financial markets as well as the general situation associated with COVID-19.

However, the development of COVID-19 had a significant impact on the supervision planning. Due to the unpredictable development of the health situation, on-site inspections could only be planned and carried out during the period of relaxation of the quarantine measures. For this reason, supervision focused on proactive and intensive in-depth off-site supervision of all pension savings managers and the funds they manage.

The NBS continuously checked and evaluated the functioning of the supervised entities managing assets in the 2nd and 3rd pillars, including the compliance with capital requirements. The entities remained stable and were able to cope very well with the pandemic crisis by applying responsible policies and a prudent approach. The NBS also closely monitored the sensitivity of the pension sector to the fluctuations of the financial market.

Throughout the entire period, the NBS monitored the activities of asset managers in relation to the quality of care provided to savers, participants, and beneficiaries. In this sense, it can be stated that the pension administrators reacted very flexibly and responsibly during 2021, and the savers, participants and beneficiaries experienced no restrictions.

April 2020: An employer or a self-employed person with mandatory pension insurance was not required to pay social insurance contributions, including mandatory contributions into the second pillar, for April 2020 if their business operation was closed due to a decision of the competent authority (Public Health Office of the Slovak Republic) for at least 15 days. The request had to submitted by 18 May 2020.

The due date of the social insurance contributions of employers and self-employed persons, including mandatory contributions into the second pillar, for March, May, June and July 2020 was postponed initially to 31 December 2020 if these persons suffered a drop in net turnover or income from business and other self-employment activity by 40% or more. The deferral only applied to social security contributions from employers and self-employed workers, but not to those from employees.

The government later on decided to further extend the deferral of the obligation to pay social security contributions. The revised due dates for the deferred contributions are as follows:209

  • 30 September 2021 for contributions initially due in March 2020

  • 31 March 2022 for contributions initially due in May 2020

  • 30 June 2022 for contributions initially due in June 2020

  • 30 September 2022 for contributions initially due in July 2020

  • 31 December 2022 for contributions initially due in December 2020

  • 31 March 2023 for contributions initially due in January 2021

  • 30 June 2023 for contributions initially due in February 2021

  • 30 September 2023 for contributions initially due in March 2021

  • 31 December 2023 for contributions initially due in April 2021

  • 31 March 2024 for contributions initially due in May 2021

  • 30 June 2024 for contributions initially due in October 2021

  • 30 September 2024 for contribution initially due in November 2021

  • 31 December 2024 for contribution initially due in December 2021.

April 2020: The Securities Market Agency (SMA) and the Insurance Supervision Agency (ISA) followed the recommendations of the Financial Stability Board and EIOPA and advised the financial entities they supervise to withhold paying dividends to shareholders.210 The SMA supervises mutual pension funds while the ISA supervises pension and insurance companies.

August 2020: The ISA repeated this advice on 20 August 2020.211

February 2021: The Slovenian authorities provided advice with respect to dividend payments and other distributions in 2021. The SMA encouraged its supervised entities to be careful in their distribution of profits (until at least 30 September 2021) and ensure they have the appropriate capital level. Likewise, the ISA expected its supervised entities to withhold paying dividends until end-September 2021.212

March 2020: The SMA was allowed to extend deadlines for non-essential proceedings and relating to the performance of procedural acts by supervised entities.213

December 2020: The SMA could, by a decision issued at the request of a supervised entity, extend the time limit for fulfilling the obligation laid down by an individual administrative act if the party was unable to fulfil the obligation in good time for a legitimate reason.214 This possibility was further granted in March and November 2021.

March 2020: The SMA issued a warning on ill-intentioned financial advice.215 Scammers may advertise investments promising high returns. These investments are risky and the promised returns may not reflect the actual realised ones.

April 2020: The General Directorate of Insurance and Pension Funds (DGSFP in Spanish) urged insurance companies to withhold paying dividends to their shareholders. This recommendation was line with that of EIOPA.

January 2021: The DGSFP reiterated its call upon insurance companies to withhold dividend distributions, in line with EIOPA’s recommendations.216

March 2020: Spain facilitated the early access to private pension savings as a result of the COVID-19 crisis (Royal Decree 11/2020).217 Members of pension plans were able to withdraw assets from their pension plans with no penalty under certain conditions for a period of six months from the entry in force of the Royal Decree 463/2020 on 14 March 2020. This option was available to members of insured pension plans, company benefit schemes and mutual provident funds.

Members had to meet one of the following conditions to be allowed to withdraw assets from their pension plans:

  • temporarily unemployed because of the COVID-19 outbreak

  • unable to work as employers are obliged to close to the public because of the lockdown

  • self-employed registered in the social security and unable to continue their activities.

The amount of assets that could be withdrawn was capped. It could not exceed the wages (respectively net income) that the temporarily laid-off employees (respectively self-employed) would have received if they had been able to continue working.

The tax treatment of these early withdrawals was the same as benefit payments. Benefits are usually taxed as labour income at the marginal tax rate of the individual (except for contributions made before 2007).218

As of 30 September 2020, close to 61 000 withdrawal requests had been processed, for a total of EUR 114 million.219

March 2020: The Swedish government introduced a short-time work allowance programme to further subsidise wage payments (including public pension contributions) when employers reduced their staff’s number of working hours. This programme initially lasted throughout 2020.220

The proportion of salary that the state and employers paid and that employees kept depended on the reduction in the number of hours. The short-time work allowance from the state was available for different levels of reduction in working hours: 20%, 40% and 60% (as well as 80% for May, June and July 2020). Employer staff costs were reduced by 19%, 36% and 53% (72% for an 80% reduction in working hours for May, June and July 2020) respectively under the short-time work allowance programme. However, employees still received over 90% of their salary for a 60% reduction in their working hours.

Employers had to meet some conditions to benefit from this allowance. The possibility for a reduction in the number of working hours had to exist in the collective bargaining agreement. If it was not the case, employers had to sign an agreement with at least 70% of the employees in the operating unit. Employers should also have tried to reduce their labour costs, such as by dismissing non-permanent employees who were not critical for their operations.

Employers could benefit from this allowance for a period of six months, which could be extended by three more months. This financial support could start from 16 March 2020.

This measure intended to provide support to both employers and employees in a context of economic and financial difficulties due to COVID-19. It reduced the staff costs for employers while allowing workers to get almost their full salary on which contributions to the pension premium system (PPM) are taken. This measure could limit the effects of COVID-19 and its economic and financial consequences on pension contributions.

February 2021: The Swedish government continued to provide financial support in the case of a reduction in working hours in 2021, with some adjustments compared to 2020. The new scheme (Short-Time Work Allowance 2021) covered a 7-month period, from 1 December 2020 to 30 June 2021.221 Employers were eligible to this support if they had suffered temporary and serious financial difficulties due to circumstances beyond their control. They should not be bankrupt, nor subject to prepare a balance sheet for liquidation purposes, nor undergoing restructuring at the time of the application to get the financial support. They also had to have entered into an agreement of short-time work with their employees. The reduction in working hours should be 20%, 40%, 60% (or 80% between January and June 2021).

The Swedish government covered 75% of the employers’ costs after the reduced working hours.222 The calculation was based on the employees’ salary, excluding the 31.42% social insurance contributions of the employers.223 Taking into account employers’ social security contributions, the share of support of the government was 98.565% (i.e. 75% of 1.3142).

Support could be granted for a maximum period of six consecutive months.

Second half of 2021: The Swedish government extended the short-time work allowance for the period July-September 2021.224 Employers could apply to get financial support for the months of July, August and September retroactively between 3 and 30 November 2021.

March 2020: The Swedish Financial Supervisory Agency encouraged occupational pension funds to use the internal buffers they had built up on top of their risk-capital requirements under more favourable circumstances.225 It also encouraged occupational pension funds to refrain from selling assets to meet internal buffer requirements.

This invitation aimed at limiting further negative effects on asset prices when they were already falling.

The Swedish Financial Supervisory Agency was also ready to discuss with companies whose capital fell below risk-based capital requirements.

April 2020: The Swedish government introduced the temporary possibility of conducting annual general meetings in companies and associations without the need for the concerned parties to meet physically.226 Meetings could take place and the concerned parties exercise their rights at the meeting using digital communications and mail or just via mail.

This measure intended to limit the spread of the COVID-19 and was aimed at insurance companies as well as other businesses.

June 2020: Following the plea of the Financial Supervisory Authority, the Swedish Finance Ministry agreed to provide leeway to pension funds in their conversion process into occupational pension companies under Sweden’s domestic implementation of the IORP II Directive.227 The Finance Ministry proposed a bill on 26 June 2020 allowing pension funds to go ahead and proceed with their conversion even if they failed to meet the solvency criteria. The proposed bill came into force on 15 December 2020.228

This legislation intended to avoid denying permission to pension funds to operate as occupational pension companies because of financial instability resulting from COVID-19 and affecting their solvency position.

April 2020: The Swedish Financial Supervisory Agency has been warning customers about scams on its website.229 It reports the cases of several customers who received a call from scammers pretending they were calling on behalf of the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority. Scammers were pretending to assist customers to recoup lost money that was invested.

December 2020: The Swedish Financial Supervisory Agency expected financial companies to refrain from dividend payments and share buybacks until 30 September 2021.230 Dividends and share buybacks shall not exceed 25% of the net profit of banks for the two financial years 2019 and 2020.

March 2020: Switzerland decided on 25 March 2020 to allow employers to temporarily tap into their contribution reserve to pay their contributions to occupational pension plans. This measure was initially in force for six months. Employers using this option had to inform their pension fund in writing.

November 2020: The Swiss Parliament authorised the Federal Council on 25 September 2020 to extend this measure. The Federal Council decided on 11 November 2020 to allow employers again to use their contribution reserve until 31 December 2021.231

This measure aimed at helping employers facing liquidity issues. It did not affect employees. Employee contributions continued to be withdrawn from employees’ salary and transferred to their occupational pension plans. Their plans received all the expected contributions.

September 2020: The Swiss Parliament allowed people aged 58 or above becoming unemployed after 31 July 2020 to request from 1 January 2021 to remain in the occupational pension plan of their former employer.232 Before this temporary change in the legislation, people aged 58 or above who were losing their jobs had to leave the occupational plan of their employer and transfer their assets to a vested benefits account. The change in legislation allowed these people to remain in the plan of their former employer and have the same rights as other plan members.

March 2020: The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) recommended the entities it supervises to withhold paying dividends to their shareholders.233 FINMA is the supervisor of insurance companies with which individuals can set up voluntary private pension arrangements.

April 2020: FINMA extended the reporting deadlines of insurers.234 Insurance companies could submit a number of reports on their capital and financial situation until 31 May 2020 instead of 30 April 2020. Insurance companies wishing to benefit from this deadline extension had to let FINMA know by 30 April 2020.

March 2020: The Capital Market Board announced that the disclosure of quarterly financial reports for the first quarter of 2020 could be delayed until 30 April 2020.

The announcement dates and reporting periods of some transactions regarding pension mutual funds were extended.

The Notification on Principles Regarding Investment Funds authorises the Capital Markets Board of Türkiye to halt the calculations of unit fund values of the pension mutual funds, and to suspend trading these funds in extraordinary situations.

Trading the funds may be halted, if deemed necessary, to eliminate the liquidity risk that may arise from a large number of possible demands from participants to leave the system to meet their financial needs due to the pandemic.

The Turkish authorities reported the introduction of a regulation enabling participants to terminate pension contracts via secure electronic communication tools. Before this measure was taken, signed documents were required to terminate contracts.

March 2020: The Pensions Regulator (TPR) announced that it would not take legal action during three months if trustees suspended their cash equivalent transfer value (CETV) quotations and payments. The CETV is the cash value placed on pension benefits. It corresponds to the amount that plan members can transfer to another plan in exchange of giving up their rights in their current plan. Trustees are usually required to disclose this value upon the CETV terms and process.

This measure could help to protect the liquidity of the DB plan provider by limiting transfers between plans. It could also protect the interest of plan members in a context of volatile financial markets as the CETV may be fluctuating significantly. This measure also intended to help trustees to focus on other administrative activities (such as pension payroll) rather than assessing CETV.

TPR specified that it expected trustees to report any breach of their transfer obligations from 1 July 2020. TPR was ready to continue to take a pragmatic approach if a breach was related to COVID-19.

March 2020: TPR announced that it was ready to refrain from taking regulatory action if trustees of DB plans did not submit recovery plans of underfunded DB plans on time.235 TPR suggested that the submission of the recovery plan could be delayed by up to three months.

June 2020: TPR stated that it would continue to take a pragmatic approach to late submission because of COVID-19 issues.

This flexibility aimed at providing more time for trustees to consider the situation of the plan and of the employer for the recovery plan. TPR did not expect trustees who were about to calculate the funding of the plan to change their valuation assumptions. However, TPR suggested that trustees could consider the affordability of deficit repair contributions from the employers when agreeing the recovery plan.

March 2020: TPR announced in March 2020 that it would be ready to refrain from taking regulatory actions if employers failed to make deficit repair contributions (DRC) during three months according to the recovery plans. TPR advised trustees to be open to requests from employers to reduce or suspend DRC. This reduction or suspension should be for a period of time as limited as possible below three months.

June 2020: TPR repeated that DRC suspensions or reductions could still be appropriate. However, TPR did not expect trustees to extend suspensions or reductions on a three-month rolling basis unquestioningly.

TPR also made it possible for trustees to grant the same leeway for future contributions of employers (and members) to DB plans as for the reduction or suspension of DRC.

TPR expected trustees to check the actual financial conditions of the employers before allowing contribution breaks and ensure that dividend payments from employers to shareholders were suspended.

March 2020: TPR continuously provided guidance to trustees during the COVID-19 situation.236 For instance, TPR acknowledged that deferring or reducing deficit repair contributions (DRC) could be appropriate. However, TPR expected trustees to undertake due diligence on the financial position of the employer before agreeing a new DRC suspension or reduction for three months.

TPR intended to regulate and monitor pragmatically. TPR expected trustees to report breaches of any legislative requirement, though. Trustees should comply with their reporting requirements from 1 July 2020.

TPR has also been providing guidance for DC trustees and its stances on some matters.237 For instance, TPR agreed not to take action against employers failing to consult members for the full 60-day period on the reduction of employer contributions, subject to certain conditions. This flexibility could happen when the employer was only proposing a reduction of employer contributions for furloughed staff for instance to align with the job retention scheme.

July 2020: The Pension Protection Fund announced that it would waive the interest charge on late payment of its levy over a 90-day period for defined benefit schemes struggling because of COVID-19.238 In the past, pension schemes had 28 days to pay the levy. Schemes could apply for an interest-free deadline extension after receiving the levy invoice for 2020/21. The Pension Protection Fund requires evidence proving financial hardship from applicants.

September 2021: For a second year, the Pension Protection Fund offered a 90-day levy payment window, interest free, for schemes impacted by COVID-19. Schemes could apply for a payment extension of the 2021/22 levy bill.239

March 2020: The United Kingdom introduced a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) paying a grant to eligible employers for employees on temporary leave (furlough) due to COVID-19.240 This scheme was in force from 1 March 2020, originally for three months.

May 2020: The Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that this scheme would continue until end-October 2020 but would be gradually phased out from August 2020.241

October 2020: The CJRS was further extended from November 2020 to 31 March 2021.

March 2021: The CJRS was further extended until 30 September 2021.

The grant available under this Scheme initially covered 80% of the usual monthly wage of the furloughed employee, up to GBP 2 500 a month, plus the associated employer national insurance contributions and the minimum mandatory pension contributions. Pension contributions were financed up to the level of the minimum automatic enrolment employer contribution (i.e. 3% of qualifying earnings). Employers could not claim for pension contributions they made above the mandatory employer contributions. From August 2020, employers were required to pay the national insurance contributions and the minimum 3% pension contributions. The government reduced its salary payment down to 70% (up to GBP 2 187.5) in September 2020, and further down to 60% (up to GBP 1 875) in October 2020. Employers were requested to make up the difference (10% in September 2020, 20% in October 2020). The government increased again its salary payment up to 80% of the usual salary (up to GBP 2 500 a month) from 1 November 2020. It reduced it again to 70% of the wages (up to GBP 2 187.50) in July 2021, and 60% of the wages (up to GBP 1 875) in August and September 2021.242

Employers could claim the grant if they had created and started a pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) payroll scheme. They had to have enrolled for PAYE online and have a UK bank account.

Employers could initially claim the grant for furloughed employees who were on the PAYE payroll on or before 28 February 2020.243 Employees had to be furloughed for a minimum period of three consecutive weeks. The grant was available regardless of the initial employment contract (e.g. full-time, part-time, flexible). Employers could not get a grant from the CJRS (before 1 July 2020) if employees were still working, even on reduced hours or for reduced pay. From 1 July 2020, employers could ask furloughed employees to come back to work for any amount of time and could be entitled to the extended version of the CJRS for the hours not worked.

The reference salary of the employee on which the calculation of the grant was based excluded non-monetary benefits provided to employees and benefits provided through salary sacrifice schemes (such as pension contributions). These benefits that reduced the taxable pay of the employee were not included in the calculation of the grant.

To continue to support companies facing lower demand due to COVID-19 after the CJRS (supposed to end at end-October 2020), the government was planning to introduce a Job Support Scheme from 1 November 2020 for six months. However, as the CJRS was extended from 1 November 2020, this Job Support Scheme has been postponed.244

The HMRC published in 2021 the list of companies who made furlough claims under the CJRS to provide transparency and to deter furlough fraud.245

Employers were able to claim up to the minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions to be included in the subsidy at the early stage of this scheme, but this top-up ended on 1 August 2020.246

April 2020: Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) allowed individuals to exit salary sacrifice schemes in case of changes to circumstances directly resulting from COVID-19.247 A salary sacrifice arrangement is an agreement to reduce an employee’s entitlement to cash pay, usually in return for a non-cash benefit. HMRC usually lets individuals switch out from salary sacrifice schemes only in the case of a life event. HMRC agreed to consider COVID-19 as a life event that could justify a change to salary sacrifice arrangements. The related employment contract needed to be updated accordingly.

March 2020: Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) implemented process changes to ease burdens with the RAS process whilst many customers were working from home. This enabled scheme administrators who were ordinarily required to obtain wet signatures on interim repayment claims, to instead provide interim claims without a signature where submitted by the authorised signatory or signed by someone else, provided separate authority was emailed by the authorised signatory.

September 2021: This easement was extended pending wider work on pension tax administration.

March 2020: Some individuals who were members of pension schemes before 6 April 2006, including some police, firefighters and uniformed service personnel, have protected pension ages in respect of those schemes. This means they are able to receive pension benefits at an age below the current normal minimum pension age. Legislation was introduced in March 2020 to ensure that those who had retired but returned to employment to support the COVID-19 response did not lose their protected pension age.

March 2020: In recognition of the increased risks frontline National health Service (NHS) and social care staff face in carrying out their duties during COVID-19, NHS England and NHS Wales were to pay a lump sum of GBP 60 000 in respect of the death of NHS and social care staff. Legislation was introduced to wholly exempt the lump sum paid.

September 2020: Northern Ireland and Scotland introduced similar schemes for frontline health and social care workers. Legislation was extended to exempt the lump sum payments made to the estates of eligible individuals who died from COVID-19 that was contracted during their frontline work.

March 2020: Rules that were finalised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in January 2019 were due to come into effect on 6 April 2020. These rules changed the information that firms must give consumers entering pension drawdown or taking an income for the first time (including uncrystallised fund pension lump sum) and the annual information given to these customers.248 In March 2020, when pension providers were expected to be in the final phases of implementation, the FCA acknowledged that some firms may face a short delay to implementation owing to pandemic-related operational challenges. The FCA emphasised its expectation that pension providers implement as soon as reasonably practicable and required the provider to make a formal notification if implementation would be later than 31 May 2020.

April 2020: The FCA Board made new rules that extended by six months the implementation deadline of the final suite of Retirement Outcomes Review remedies (Investment Pathways, active decision to invest in cash and actual charges disclosure rules).249 This extended implementation period recognised the operational challenges of implementing new rules at a time when firms needed to reprioritise resources to focus on critical functions through which consumer harm is prevented.

The FCA has an ongoing campaign (ScamSmart) to help consumers avoid investment and pension scams. ScamSmart has a specific webpage that TPR recommends to visit as necessary: https://www.fca.org.uk/scamsmart. This webpage identifies several types of pension scams. Scammers may offer one of the following opportunities: free pension review, taking money from a plan, pension transfer to another plan. ScamSmart lists the channels that scammers may use, such as emails, social media, or phone calls. ScamSmart provides assistance and explains to pension savers how they should deal with these scams.

March 2020: The FCA published alert on how consumers can avoid COVID-19 pension scams. This highlighted the tactics commonly used by scammers. The FCA also provided practical measures on how consumers can protect themselves.

April 2020: TPR reminds trustees and employers that there is a risk of scams from which members need protection.250 Scammers may lure savers willing to transfer their pension, prompted by the volatility of financial markets or the risk of bankruptcy of the employer. TPR raised warning and asked trustees and employers to be vigilant if members asked about transferring their pension.

April 2020: The FCA published guidance on what firms can and should do to support customers who seek to access to their pension savings during the pandemic.251 This identified scams as a key risk factor and set out what firms should ask their customers and what information firms should provide to help them protect themselves against pension scams.

May 2020: UK pension bodies published a consolidated guide for consumers on COVID-19 and their pension.252 This guide brought together information from each of the bodies on issues that could affect consumers during the COVID-19 crisis. It set out responsibilities by organisation, answers to frequently asked questions, and contact information where appropriate.

November 2021: New measures came into force on 30 November 2021, giving trustees and scheme managers new powers to intervene and halt suspicious transfers.253

March 2020: The United States enacted into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that includes provisions suspending the required minimum distribution (RMD) from DC plans for 2020.254 Generally, individuals must take their first RMD by 1 April of the year following the year in which they turn age 72 (or age 70.5 for those who turned 70.5 before 1 January 2020).255 Absent exception, failure to take a RMD when required results in a tax penalty of a 50% of the amount that should have been distributed. Individuals who had already withdrawn assets in 2020 before the CARES Act passed could, within 60 days of the distribution, roll over the withdrawn amount into individual retirement accounts (IRAs) or qualified retirement plans.

June 2020: The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) extended the rollover period for IRA distributions (within 60 days of distribution initially) to 31 August 2020.256

July 2020: The IRS reminded old-age people and retirees that there were not required to take money out of their IRAs and workplace DC pension plans during the whole year 2020.257

March 2020: The CARES Act allowed employers to defer their required minimum contributions into single-employer DB plans in 2020 until 1 January 2021.258 Contributions were treated as timely if they had been made no later than 4 January 2021 (which is the first business day after 1 January 2021).259 Delayed contributions are to be increased with interest accruing between the original due date and the date of payment at the effective interest rate for the plan for the plan year including the payment date.

March 2020: When determining whether benefit restrictions apply for underfunded DB plans with respect to any plan year that includes a portion of the 2020 calendar year, the CARES Act lets sponsors choose to use the adjusted funding target attainment percentage (AFTAP) for the plan year ending in 2019.260 This could help employers avoid freezing benefits and continue offering lump sums and other accelerated payment forms in 2020, even if the plan’s funded status significantly declined due to COVID-19.

March 2020: The CARES Act allowed participants and beneficiaries to access savings in their DC plans up to USD 100 000 without penalty, providing certain COVID-19 related criteria were met. Before this Act, individuals withdrawing their savings before the age of 59 and a half had to pay a 10% tax penalty. The COVID-19 related withdrawal was also exempt from the normal 20% federal tax withholding on such distributions.

Additionally, under the CARES Act, if the qualified individual is unable to repay the withdrawal within three years, the income tax payment on these early withdrawals may be spread over three years and the qualified individual will not owe the 10% penalty. Thus, individuals did not have to pay the full amount of taxes in the year of withdrawal.

Under the CARES Act, qualified individuals are also allowed to put some or all of their withdrawals back into their plan within three years without having the amount recognised as income for tax purposes. Repayment is not counted towards the annual contribution limits.

Under the CARES Act, until 31 December 2020 for purposes related to COVID-19, an individual qualified for this tax relief if:

  • a test that is approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed they are diagnosed with COVID-19

  • their spouse or one of their dependents was diagnosed with COVID-19 according to a CDC-approved test

  • they experienced adverse financial consequences of COVID-19.261

December 2020: The Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA) that was signed into law at end-2020 amended the CARES Act to allow in-service (i.e. early) withdrawal of savings in money purchase pension plans with no penalty like other plans eligible under the CARES Act.262 Money purchase pension plans are pension plans into which employers contribute a percentage of the salary of the participating employees every year. Employees cannot contribute to the plan but can choose how to invest the assets based on the options that the employers offer.263 The CAA allowed early withdrawals from these plans to qualify as COVID-19 related distributions, applying retroactively from 27 March 2020 until 30 December 2020.

March 2020: The CARES Act permitted plans to lift the ceiling on the amount that individuals could borrow from their DC plans. The loan could amount to the full balance of the plan (instead of 50%) up to USD 100 000 (instead of USD 50 000). Individuals could also delay the repayment of their outstanding loan from their DC plan by one year. However, interest continued to accrue on delayed payments.

Individuals could benefit from this measure within 180 days of the enactment of the Act.

March 2021: As part of its response to the economic fallout of COVID-19, the United Sates passed a USD 1.9 trillion expenditure bill under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (the ARPA) that also includes a number of provisions affecting pension plans.264 The ARPA creates and funds a special financial assistance programme to extend the solvency of severely underfunded multiemployer DB plans. This government support represents an approximately USD 90 billion aid package for participants of a few hundred employer-union pension plans.265 These plans are negotiated between unions and employers. The financial assistance is in the form of grants instead of a loan.266

July 2021: The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) issued an interim final rule outlining some of the aspects of the special financial assistance, such as the amount of this assistance, the application process and the way this assistance shall be invested.267

This programme provides one-off payments to allow the plan to continue paying all benefits through 2051. This in turn should allow the PBGC to avoid insolvency. The PBGC interim final rule provides that the amount of the special financial assistance would be the difference between the obligations of the plan and its resources. The obligations of the plan refer to the sum of benefits, including reinstated benefits, and expected reasonable administrative expenses until 2051. The resources of the plan are the fair market value of plan assets, the present value of future anticipated contributions, withdrawal liability payments and other payments to the plan (excluding the special financial assistance).

Multiemployer plans have to meet one of the following criteria to be eligible for this financial assistance:

  • the plan must be in critical and declining status in any plan year beginning between 2020 and 2022

  • the plan has a benefit suspension in accordance with the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014

  • the plan is in critical status in any plan year beginning between 2020 and 2022, has a “modified funding percentage” (as defined by the law) below 40% and has a ratio of active to inactive participations below two-thirds

  • the plan became insolvent after 16 December 2014, remained insolvent and has not been terminated as of 11 March 2021.

Eligible plans can submit their initial application for special financial assistance to the PBGC by 31 December 2025, and submit revised applications until 31 December 2026. The ARPA allows the PBGC to give priority consideration to certain plans by forbidding to file an application for a plan for up to two years unless the plan demonstrates a significant funding deficit or short-term insolvency risk.

After their application is approved, plans receive within one year a one-time special financial assistance payment from the PBGC, subject to certain restrictions. The payment is equal to the amount necessary to ensure that the plan can pay all benefits due until 2051. This financial assistance must be segregated from the other assets of the plan and must be invested in investment-grade bonds or other investments approved by the PBGC. Plans receiving such assistance will be considered in critical status until 2051. The ARPA does not require to cut the earned benefits of members.268 Plans that suspended or cut their benefit payments and received this financial assistance must resume their benefit payments and provide retroactive adjustments.269

Plans will have to comply with certain conditions in exchange for the financial assistance. They will have to provide comprehensive reports to the PBGC regularly.

This programme intends to prevent the insolvency of significantly underfunded plans and prevent participant benefit reductions to the PBGC guaranteed benefit level in the event of a plan’s insolvency (which would be expected to occur prior to 2051 in the absence of special financial assistance).

March 2021: No plan receiving special financial assistance is allowed any longer to suspend benefits (previously possible under the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act).

March 2021: The ARPA also allows multiemployer pension plans to keep the status of the year before the plan year starting between 1 March 2020 and 28 February 2021.270 This will provide plans with flexibility and alleviate administrative burden.

March 2021: The ARPA also allows multiemployer plans that are endangered or in critical status for a plan year beginning in 2020 or 2021 to extend their funding improvement or rehabilitation period by five years.271 This intends to provide more time to improve contribution rates, limit benefit accruals and maintain the funding of the plan.

Multiemployer plans can also amortise losses they occurred in the first two plan years ending after 29 February 2020 over 30 years (instead of 15 years).272 These losses could be investment losses or other COVID-19 related losses due to reduced contributions for example. Plans that choose to amortise losses over 30 years are not allowed to increase benefits in that time and the two years afterwards unless they are funded by additional contributions.

Multiemployer plans can also smooth actuarial investment losses over ten years (instead of five) for the first two years ending after 29 February 2020. Plans using this flexibility are also subject to limitations on benefit increases.

In the case of single-employer plans, starting for plan years beginning after 31 December 2019, new and future shortfalls can be amortised over a 15-year period, instead of seven. This relief is expected to lower the annual minimum required contributions. This extended amortisation period can apply retrospectively and the shortfall amortisation calculations of the previous year can be reset to zero.273

March 2021: The ARPA is maintaining the interest rate corridor that the Congress enacted in 2012 and that was supposed to be phased out in 2021. This interest rate corridor sets a floor and a ceiling on the interest rate to use in the calculation of pension liabilities of single-employer pension plans. Interest rates that are used to value pension liabilities had to be within 10% of the 25-year interest rate averages.274 This 10% corridor was supposed to increase from 2021 by 5 percentage points until it reaches 30% of the 25-year averages. This widening of the corridor was expected to reduce its effects on the valuation of liabilities. However, the ARPA delayed the increase of the corridor and even reduced it at 5%, effective from 2020 to 2025. The phase-out of the corridor is postponed to 2026. From 2026, the 5% corridor will increase by 5 percentage points annually, until it reaches 30% in 2030. The ARPA sets an interest rate floor of 5% on the 25-year interest rate averages.

The floor would aim at protecting the funding of plans from extreme interest rate movements and ensure liabilities are stable and predictable over the long term.

April 2021: The Department of Labour issued on 14 April 2021 a guidance for plan sponsors, plan fiduciaries, record keepers and plan participants on best practices for maintaining cybersecurity, including tips on how to protect the retirement benefits of America’s workers.275 This guidance stresses the obligation of plan fiduciaries to ensure proper mitigation of cybersecurity risks, which includes provisions on ensuring that electronic record-keeping systems have reasonable controls, adequate records management practices are in place, and that electronic disclosure systems include measures calculated to protect Personally Identifiable Information. This guidance may not be specifically in response to COVID-19 but is especially relevant in the time of COVID-19.


← 1. Minimum annual payments for super income streams | Australian Taxation Office (ato.gov.au)

← 2. For those drawing down their assets for the first year, the required minimum amount is calculated proportionately from the starting day to the end of the financial year.

← 3. Supporting retirees with extension of the temporary reduction in superannuation minimum drawdown rates | Treasury Ministers

← 4. APRA adapts 2020 agenda to prioritise COVID-19 response | APRA

← 5. 20-086MR Details of changes to ASIC regulatory work and priorities in light of COVID-19 | ASIC - Australian Securities and Investments Commission

← 6. APRA to recommence prudential policy programme and issuing of new licences | APRA

← 7. COVID-19: APRA’s approach to licensing | APRA

← 8. APRA to recommence prudential policy programme and issuing of new licences | APRA

← 9. 20-085MR ASIC grants relief to industry to provide affordable and timely financial advice during the COVID-19 pandemic | ASIC - Australian Securities and Investments Commission

← 10. 20-220MR ASIC extends COVID-19 relief for certain capital raisings and financial advice | ASIC - Australian Securities and Investments Commission

← 11. Getting your super - Moneysmart.gov.au

← 12. 21-269MR ASIC further extends temporary financial advice relief measures in COVID-19 instrument | ASIC - Australian Securities and Investments Commission

← 13. APRA and ASIC release joint letter to superannuation trustees on COVID-19 | APRA

← 14. COVID-19 - Information for superannuation trustees | ASIC - Australian Securities and Investments Commission

← 15. COVID-19 regulatory information | ASIC - Australian Securities and Investments Commission

← 16. Tax treatment of the withdrawals from superannuation schemes for the financial year 2018-19: Financial-Incentives-for-Funded-Pension-Plans-in-OECD-Countries-2019.pdf

← 17. Industry super funds ask for government help amid fears of mass COVID-19 withdrawals | Superannuation | The Guardian

← 18. COVID-19 Early Release Scheme - Issue 36 | APRA

← 19. EIOPA and FMA urgently recommend insurance undertakings to refrain from the distribution of dividends as well as share buy-backs - FMA Österreich

← 20. FMA and European supervisory institutions recommend banks and insurance undertakings to refrain from dividend distributions and share buy backs this year as well as to pursue a conservative remuneration policy - FMA Österreich

← 21. Repealing of the recommendation to financial service providers to refrain from paying dividends in light of the economic challenges caused by COVID-19. - FMA Österreich

← 22. https://www.fma.gv.at/download.php?d=4339 (in German)

← 23. https://www.fma.gv.at/download.php?d=4403 (in German)

← 24. FMA warns about a strong increase in fraudulent activities in the financial markets in conjunction with the Corona pandemic - FMA Österreich

← 25. COVID-19: information pour les institutions de retraite professionnelle | FSMA (in French)

← 26. COVID-19: information pour les institutions de retraite professionnelle | FSMA (in French)

← 27. https://www.fsma.be/sites/default/files/public/content/FR/Pension/COVID-19_irp_orientationscontinuite.pdf (in French)

← 28. COVID-19: Beware of fraudulent investment offers and scams that are circulating on social media! | FSMA

← 29. Conséquences en cas de chômage temporaire dû à la crise du coronavirus | FSMA (in French)

← 30. COVID-19: Informations destinées aux consommateurs | FSMA (in French)

← 31. Call centre | FSMA (in French)

← 32. Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) minimum withdrawal reduced: CRA and COVID-19 - Canada.ca

← 33. OSFI Actions to Address Issues Stemming from COVID-19 (osfi-bsif.gc.ca)

← 34. Update on Temporary Portability Freeze (osfi-bsif.gc.ca)

← 35. Directives of the Superintendent - FAQs (osfi-bsif.gc.ca)

← 36. Canada Gazette, Part 2, Volume 154, Number 12: Solvency Special Payments Relief Regulations, 2020

← 37. https://www.osfi-bsif.gc.ca/Eng/Pages/COVID-19.aspx

← 38. OSFI announces regulatory flexibility to support COVID-19 efforts (osfi-bsif.gc.ca)

← 39. https://www.bennettjones.com/Blogs-Section/What-Pension-Plan-Administrators-Need-to-Know-Amidst-the-COVID-19-Pandemic

← 40. Directives of the Superintendent - FAQs (osfi-bsif.gc.ca)

← 41. COVID-19 Measures Taken by Pension Regulators Across Canada Bulletin (lawsonlundell.com)

← 42. Relief measures for Registered Pension Plans and Deferred Salary Leave Plans - Canada.ca

← 43. Government extends relief for Registered Pension Plans and deferred salary leave plans - Canada.ca

← 44. Superintendencia de Pensiones emite norma para que quienes inician trámite de pensión transfieran sus fondos a una cuenta corriente y eviten una disminución en sus ahorros - SP. Superintendencia de Pensiones - Gobierno de Chile (spensiones.cl) (in Spanish)

← 45. https://www.spensiones.cl/portal/institucional/594/w3-channel.html

← 46. Regulation 0262, available at: https://www.spensiones.cl/apps/normativaSP/getNormativa.php?id=ncgsp

← 47. The minimum was lower for those with account balances under 35 UFs. Individuals with assets lower than 35 UF were allowed to withdraw all their savings.

← 48. Withdrawals lower than 35 UFs were delivered in a single payment.

← 49. Superintendencia de Pensiones flexibiliza normas de inversiones de los fondos de pensiones para facilitar proceso de liquidación de activos financieros - SP. Superintendencia de Pensiones - Gobierno de Chile (spensiones.cl) (in Spanish)

← 50. Superintendencia de Pensiones instruye a las AFP procedimiento y plazos para implementar entrega de bono de hasta USD200.000 - SP. Superintendencia de Pensiones - Gobierno de Chile (spensiones.cl) (in Spanish)

← 51. Bono de hasta USD200.000: sistema ha cursado más de 2.7 millones de pagos y el 93.7% de las solicitudes está al día - SP. Superintendencia de Pensiones - Gobierno de Chile (spensiones.cl) (in Spanish)

← 52. Comunicado del Banco Central de Chile - Banco Central de Chile (bcentral.cl) (in Spanish)

← 53. Banco Central dispone medidas ante nuevo retiro de fondos previsionales - Banco Central de Chile (bcentral.cl) (in Spanish)

← 54. https://www.bcentral.cl/contenido/-/detalle/banco-central-dispone-medidas-ante-nuevo-retiro-de-fondos-previsionales (in Spanish)

← 55. Law 21.227 empowers access to unemployment insurance benefits of Law 19.728 in exceptional circumstances (in place between 6 April 2020 and 6 October 2021, the measures related to contract suspension; reduction of working hours till December 2021): https://www.bcn.cl/leychile/navegar?idNorma=1144080. Law 21.247 establishes benefits for fathers, mothers and caregivers of children under certain conditions (in place between 27 July 2020 and 6 October 2021): https://www.bcn.cl/leychile/navegar?idNorma=1147763. Law 21.263 temporarily relaxes the access requirements and increases the amount of unemployment insurance benefits of Law 19.728, due to COVID-19, and improves the benefits of Law 21.227 (in place between 4 September 2020 and 6 October 2021): https://www.bcn.cl/leychile/navegar?idNorma=1149144

← 56. DECRETO 558 DEL 15 DE ABRIL DE 2020.pdf (presidencia.gov.co) (in Spanish)

← 57. Colombia-pension-market-2016.pdf (oecd.org)

← 58. DECRETO 802 DEL 4 DE JUNIO DE 2020.pdf (presidencia.gov.co) (in Spanish)

← 59. DECRETO 582 DEL 16 DE ABRIL DE 2020.pdf (presidencia.gov.co) (in Spanish)

← 60. DECRETO 558 DEL 15 DE ABRIL DE 2020.pdf (presidencia.gov.co) (in Spanish)

← 61. DECRETO 376 DEL 9 DE ABRIL DE 2021.pdf (presidencia.gov.co) (in Spanish)

← 62. Sistema Costarricense de Información Jurídica (pgrweb.go.cr) (in Spanish)

← 63. SUPEN implementa mejoras en favor de los afiliados - Buscar - SUPEN (in Spanish)

← 64. President signs law for withdrawal of rop - Presidency of the Republic of CostaRica (presidencia.go.cr) (in Spanish)

← 65. Overview of all CNB measures related to the coronavirus crisis in one place - the Czech National Bank

← 66. Overview of all CNB measures related to the coronavirus crisis in one place - the Czech National Bank

← 67. Tripartite Agreements in 2020 and 2021 (star.dk)

← 68. The Danish Wage Compensation Scheme helping companies and employees through the COVID-19 pandemic

← 69. Tripartite Agreements in 2020 and 2021 (star.dk)

← 70. Tripartite Agreements in 2020 and 2021 (star.dk)

← 71. Fleksibilitet i forhold til indberetninger mv. for forsikringsselskaber i lyset af COVID-19 (finanstilsynet.dk) (in Danish)

← 72. Løbende opfølgning på solvensdækning i pensionsselskaber (finanstilsynet.dk) (in Danish)

← 73. EIOPA-erklæring om udbytte og variabel aflønningspolitik i forbindelse med COVID-19 (finanstilsynet.dk) (in Danish)

← 74. Danica Pension er klar med en hjælpende hånd til økonomisk pressede kunder (in Danish)

← 75. Temporary suspension of II pillar contributions - Pensionikeskus

← 76. https://www.rahandusministeerium.ee/sites/default/files/teise_samba_maksete_ajutine_peatamine.pdf (in Estonian)

← 77. Sissemaksed peatas ajutiselt 9575 inimest - Pensionikeskus (in Estonian)

← 78. Koronatilanne - TELA (in Finnish)

← 79. Koronatilanne - TELA (in Finnish)

← 80. Suomen hallitus hyväksyi työmarkkinajärjestöjen ehdotuksen eläkemaksujen tilapäisestä alentamisesta - Eläketurvakeskus (etk.fi) (in Finnish)

← 81. These buffer funds are cash buffers in the balance sheet of pension providers. They are also called equalisation liability.

← 82. Governmental grants and financial assistance available for Finnish companies in distress due to COVID-19 (twobirds.com)

← 83. https://acpr.banque-france.fr/sites/default/files/medias/documents/20200403_communique_presse_dividendes_assurances.pdf and Les incertitudes sur l’ampleur des impacts de la crise imposent une gestion prudente des fonds propres des assureurs | Banque de France (banque-france.fr) (in French)

← 84. https://acpr.banque-france.fr/sites/default/files/medias/documents/20200728_communique_presse_recommandation_esrb_dividendes_1.pdf (in French)

← 85. L’ACPR demande aux institutions financières sous sa supervision de demeurer d’une grande prudence en matière de distributions (dividendes, rachats d’action, rémunérations variables) jusqu’au 30 septembre 2021 | Banque de France (banque-france.fr) (in French)

← 86. Assouplissement temporaire des dates de remise des états de reporting prudentiel européens, des exigences nationales complémentaires et de publication des informations destinées au public - Contexte du Coronavirus/COVID-19 | Banque de France (banque-france.fr) (in French)

← 87. Communications de l’ACPR dans le contexte de la pandémie COVID-19 | Banque de France (banque-france.fr) (in French)

← 88. Ordonnance n° 2020-322 du 25 mars 2020 adaptant temporairement les conditions et modalités d'attribution de l'indemnité complémentaire prévue à l'article L. 1226-1 du code du travail et modifiant, à titre exceptionnel, les dates limites et les modalités de versement des sommes versées au titre de l'intéressement et de la participation - Légifrance (legifrance.gouv.fr) (in French)

← 89. Épargne salariale, participation et intéressement | service-public.fr (in French)

← 90. Loi Madelin et PER: déblocage anticipé porté à 8000 € LégiFiscal (legifiscal.fr) (in French)

← 91. BaFin - Aktuelles zum Corona-Virus - Auslegungsentscheidung zur Erklärung zu den Grundsätzen der … (in German)

← 92. https://www.bafin.de/SharedDocs/Veroeffentlichungen/EN/Meldung/2020_21_Corona/meldung_2020_03_24_corona_virus4_aktien_en.htmlhttps://www.bafin.de/SharedDocs/Veroeffentlichungen/EN/Meldung/2020/meldung_2020_07_15_CEO-Fraud_en.html

← 93. https://www.mnb.hu/letoltes/vezetoi-korlevel-a-penztari-szektor-szamara-a-koronavirus-terjedese-altal-okozott-helyzetben-elvart-kockazatmerseklo-lepesekrol.pdf

← 94. Measures undertaken by the IcelandicGovernment in response to COVID-19 - LEX Lögmannsstofa

← 95. Quarantine payments | Directorate of Labour (vinnumalastofnun.is)

← 96. Questions and answers regarding quarinte payments | Directorate of Labour (vinnumalastofnun.is)

← 97. Reduced employment ratio | Directorate of Labour (vinnumalastofnun.is)

← 98. Government of Iceland | Covid-19 information

← 99. Partial Compensation/Reduced Employment Rate | Bureau of Labor Statistics (vinnumalastofnun.is)

← 100. 54/2006: Lög um atvinnuleysistryggingar | Lög | Alþingi (althingi.is) (in Icelandic)

← 101. Questions and answers regarding reduced employment ratio | Directorate of Labour (vinnumalastofnun.is)

← 102. Statement by the Central Bank of Iceland on extension of the hiatus in pension funds’ foreign currency purchases (cb.is)

← 103. Aðgerðir stjórnvalda til að mæta tímabundnu ástandi á vinnumarkaði - LEX Lögmannsstofa (in Icelandic)

← 104. Ábendingar til aðila á lífeyrismarkaði vegna COVID-19 (sedlabanki.is) (in Icelandic)

← 105. Statement_financial_supervision_april2020.pdf (cb.is)

← 106. Government of Iceland | Covid-19 information

← 107. Stjórnarráðið | COVID-19: Aðgerðir og ráðstafanir (stjornarradid.is) (in Icelandic)

← 108. 902e83dc-f3db-40ca-a1a3-f2d508ae8338.pdf (hagstofan.s3.amazonaws.com) (in Icelandic)

← 109. Statement_financial_supervision_april2020.pdf (cb.is)

← 110. https://www.pensionsauthority.ie/en/news_press/news_press_archive/COVID-19_announcement_by_the_pensions_authority.html

← 111. The Pensions Authority - COVID-19 - Update from the Pensions Authority

← 112. https://www.pensionsauthority.ie/en/news_press/news_press_archive/pensions_authority_annual_report_and_accounts_2020.pdf

← 113. רשות שוק ההון מבקשת להזהיר את הציבור מפני מידע שגוי ומטעה על קרנות הפנסיה הנבחרות | רשות שוק ההון, ביטוח וחיסכון (www.gov.il) (in Hebrew)

← 114. אזהרה לציבור החוסכים - ייעוץ פיננסי שיקרי | רשות שוק ההון, ביטוח וחיסכון (www.gov.il) (in Hebrew)

← 115. https://en.globes.co.il/en/article-self-employed-can-take-unemployment-pay-from-pension-1001345766

← 116. רשות שוק ההון יוצאת ביוזמה לאימוץ תקרת דמי ניהול לחוסכים שהפסיקו הפקדות בתקופת משבר הקורונה | רשות שוק ההון, ביטוח וחיסכון (www.gov.il) (in Hebrew)

← 117. Audizione del Presidente COVIP - 11° Commissione Senato. “Affare assegnato riguardante ricadute occupazionali dell’epidemia da COVID-19, azioni idonee a fronteggiare le situazioni di crisi e necessità di garantire la sicurezza sanitaria nei luoghi di lavoro (atto n. 453)” | COVIP (in Italian)

← 118. COVID-19_circolare_ania_revfinale.pdf (covip.it) (in Italian)

← 119. Contributo di vigilanza per l’anno 2020 - Deliberazione COVIP dell’11 marzo 2020 | COVIP (in Italian)

← 120. annual_report_2020_main_data.pdf (covip.it)

← 121. Press Releases - Financial Services Commission (fsc.go.kr)

← 122. Press Releases - Financial Services Commission (fsc.go.kr)

← 123. Press Releases - Financial Services Commission (fsc.go.kr)

← 124. With an outbreak of COVID-19, in supervising the financial market participants the FCMC will ensure an individual and flexible approach (fktk.lv)

← 125. Bankas un apdrošināšanas sabiedrības tiek aicinātas ierobežot dividenžu izmaksu (fktk.lv) (in Latvian)

← 126. Lietuvos bankas dėl koranoviruso atideda dalį planuotų tikrinimų | Lietuvos bankas (lb.lt) (in Lithuanian)

← 127. Kaupiantiesiems pensijų fonduose patariama likti ramiems | Lietuvos bankas (lb.lt) (in Lithuanian)

← 128. http://www.caa.lu/uploads/documents/files/LC20_15.pdf (in French)

← 129. https://www.caa.lu/uploads/documents/files/LC21_1.pdf (in French)

← 130. Regulatory reporting - CSSF

← 131. FAQ_COVID-19_eng.pdf (cssf.lu)

← 132. http://www.caa.lu/uploads/documents/files/Calendrier_Reportings_CAA_2020_F_3.pdf (in French)

← 133. FAQ_COVID-19_eng.pdf (cssf.lu)

← 134. http://www.caa.lu/fr/actualites/avertissement-general-contre-les-arnaques (in French)

← 135. Otras Disposiciones, Calendario, Acuerdos y Lineamientos | Comisión Nacional del Sistema de Ahorro para el Retiro | Gobierno | gob.mx (www.gob.mx) (in Spanish)

← 136. Medidas temporales y extraordinarias para garantizar la ejecución de actividades esenciales de las AFORE | Comisión Nacional del Sistema de Ahorro para el Retiro | Gobierno | gob.mx (www.gob.mx) (in Spanish)

← 137. 10 razones por las que no debes preocuparte por las minusvalías en el SAR | Comisión Nacional del Sistema de Ahorro para el Retiro | Gobierno | gob.mx (www.gob.mx) (in Spanish)

← 138. COMUNICADO | Comisión Nacional del Sistema de Ahorro para el Retiro | Gobierno | gob.mx (www.gob.mx) (in Spanish)

← 139. NOW-regeling compenseert volledige pensioenpremie met extra 30% op loonsom (pensioenfederatie.nl) (in Dutch)

← 140. The top-up was a contribution for all employer expenses on top of gross wages, including pension contributions, but also holiday pay, and premiums for employee insurance for unemployment and disability.

← 141. Coronavirus: DutchGovernment adopts package of new measures designed to save jobs and the economy | News item | Government.nl

← 142. Regeling NOW 2.0 gepubliceerd (pensioenfederatie.nl) (in Dutch)

← 143. Het kabinet presenteert NOW III (pensioenfederatie.nl) (in Dutch)

← 144. Government extends coronavirus support for jobs and the economy into 2021 | News item | Government.nl

← 145. Dutch Labor, Employment, and Pensions Update - Lexology

← 146. Support and recovery package substantially expanded | News item | Government.nl

← 147. This wage bill exemption at 10% was introduced in Q4 2020.

← 148. Support package for jobs and economy to be continued in third quarter | News item | Government.nl

← 149. End of support package for jobs and economy | News item | Government.nl

← 150. overzicht-aanvraagperiodes-now.pdf (uwv.nl) (in Dutch)

← 151. Postponement of the reporting period for annual statements of pension funds due to Coronavirus (dnb.nl) (in Dutch)

← 152. Minister biedt helderheid over pensioen op de korte termijn (pensioenfederatie.nl) (in Dutch)

← 153. Riding out COVID-19 in KiwiSaver » Sorted

← 154. How to stay safe from scams during COVID-19 » Sorted

← 155. COVID-19 and your money: 7 things to do right now » Sorted

← 156. Thinking of making a KiwiSaver hardship withdrawal? Here’s what you need to know | FMA

← 157. 2020 COVID-19 Wage Subsidy - Work and Income

← 158. COVID-19 LeaveSupport Scheme - Work and Income

← 159. The only way to stop contributions is for the employee to request a savings suspension from Inland Revenue.

← 160. COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Extension - Work and Income

← 161. COVID-19 Resurgence Wage Subsidy - Work and Income

← 162. COVID-19 Wage Subsidy March 2021 - Work and Income

← 163. COVID-19 Essential Workers Leave Support Scheme - Work and Income

← 164. Essential companies could apply to a Wage Subsidy or a Leave Support for an employee if they met the eligibility conditions of the respective subsidies. However, they would only receive one of the two for the same employee.

← 165. https://www.workandincome.govt.nz/about-work-and-income/news/2020/leave-support-scheme-changes.html

← 166. COVID-19 Short-Term Absence Payment - Work and Income

← 167. https://www.ird.govt.nz/COVID-19/business-and-organisations/COVID-19-support-payment

← 168. https://www.fma.govt.nz/assets/Uploads/CoFR-table-of-deferred-regulatory-initiatives-April-2020.pdf

← 169. https://www.justice.govt.nz/about/news-and-media/COVID-19-news/oaths-affirmations-or-declarations/

← 170. COVID-19: KiwiSaver significant financial hardship applications | FMA

← 171. https://www.fma.govt.nz/news-and-resources/COVID-19/hardship-withdrawals-a-last-resort-rob-everett/

← 172. ‘No action’ relief as a result of COVID-19 | FMA

← 173. https://www.regjeringen.no/en/aktuelt/additional-financial-measures-to-mitigate-the-economic-effects-of-the-coronavirus-crisis/id2696548/

← 174. Regler om permitterte ansatte i private tjenestepensjonsordninger trer i kraft - regjeringen.no (in Norwegian)

← 175. Regler om permitterte ansatte i private tjenestepensjonsordninger forlenges - regjeringen.no (in Norwegian)

← 176. Regler om permitterte ansatte i private tjenestepensjonsordninger forlenges - regjeringen.no (in Norwegian)

← 177. Regler om permitterte ansatte i private tjenestepensjonsordninger forlenges - regjeringen.no (in Norwegian)

← 178. Regler om permitterte ansatte i private tjenestepensjonsordninger forlenges - regjeringen.no (in Norwegian)

← 179. https://www.regjeringen.no/no/aktuelt/banker-og-forsikringsforetak-bor-holde-tilbake-overskudd/id2695014/ (in Norwegian)

← 180. Oppfølging av ESRBs anbefaling om utbytterestriksjoner mv. - Finanstilsynet.no (in Norwegian)

← 181. Banker og forsikringsforetak må orientere Finanstilsynet om planlagt utbytte - Finanstilsynet.no (in Norwegian)

← 182. https://www.finanstilsynet.no/nyhetsarkiv/nyheter/2020/utsettelse-av-rapporteringsfrister/ (in Norwegian)

← 183. https://www.finanstilsynet.no/nyhetsarkiv/nyheter/2020/finanstilsynet-folger-eiopas-anbefaling-om-lettelser-i-rapporteringskrav/ (in Norwegian)

← 184. https://www.knf.gov.pl/o_nas/komunikaty?articleId=69462&p_id=18 (in Polish)

← 185. Koronawirus. Komunikat: zmiana terminów wdrożenia PPK - oficjalny portal Pracowniczych Planów Kapitałowych PPK (mojeppk.pl) (in Polish)

← 186. Zwolnienie z finansowania wpłat do PPK: kto może uzyskać? (bezprawnik.pl) (in Polish)

← 187. OFE to be eliminated. The government adopted a draft law | RSM Poland (EN)

← 188. https://www.asf.com.pt/NR/rdonlyres/58DAE1BA-D274-4C2D-87C5-ED043E9A0784/0/CartaCircularnr42020.pdf (in Portuguese)

← 189. https://www.asf.com.pt/NR/rdonlyres/58DAE1BA-D274-4C2D-87C5-ED043E9A0784/0/CartaCircularnr42020.pdf

← 190. CartaCircular10_2020_COVID-19_EGFP_AtualizaçãoMedidas.pdf (asf.com.pt) (in Portuguese)

← 191. ASF - Entidades Gestoras de Fundos de Pensões - Recomendações relativamente a distribuições de dividendos ou outras medidas que afetem os capitais próprios no âmbito da situação excecional relacionada com o surto pandémico COVID-19 (in Portuguese)

← 192. ASF - Empresas de Seguros - Recomendações relativamente a distribuições de dividendos ou outras medidas que afetem fundos próprios no âmbito da situação excecional relacionada com o surto pandémico COVID-19 (in Portuguese)

← 193. https://www.asf.com.pt/NR/rdonlyres/58DAE1BA-D274-4C2D-87C5-ED043E9A0784/0/CartaCircularnr42020.pdf (in Portuguese)

← 194. CartaCircular10_2020_COVID-19_EGFP_AtualizaçãoMedidas.pdf (asf.com.pt) (in Portuguese)

← 195. https://www.asf.com.pt/NR/exeres/DA3C0127-02DF-45FA-A945-A2A45D74FD60.htm (in Portuguese)

← 196. CartaCircular10_2020_COVID-19_EGFP_AtualizaçãoMedidas.pdf (asf.com.pt) (in Portuguese)

← 197. https://www.asf.com.pt/NR/rdonlyres/58DAE1BA-D274-4C2D-87C5-ED043E9A0784/0/CartaCircularnr42020.pdf (in Portuguese)

← 198. PPR pension funds are personal retirement saving schemes in the form of pension funds.

← 199. https://dre.pt/application/file/a/131347485 (in Portuguese)

← 200. ASF - Regras excecionais para o reembolso antecipado de Planos de Poupança (in Portuguese)

← 201. isp_first_aid_nov2020.pdf (gov.sk)

← 202. 285482_2150149_71_2.pdf (europa.eu)

← 203. First aid PLUS - changes in State contributions from 1October 2020 - TPA the SlovakRepublic (tpa-group.sk)

← 204. Higher contributions for employers and self-employed individuals - “First Aid ++” - TPA the SlovakRepublic (tpa-group.sk)

← 205. First Aid ++ the SlovakRepublic | Auditorea

← 206. Microsoft Word - 23112021_Complex memo on agreed measures regarding Coronavirus pandemic_EN (vgd.eu)

← 207. Changes in First Aid from 1July 2021 | KPMG Slovensko (danovky.sk)

← 208. UZ672020_752020.pdf (nbs.sk) (in the Slovak Republic)

← 209. Sociálna poisťovňa - Ako požiadať o jednotlivé dávky bez návštevy pobočky počas koronakrízy (socpoist.sk) (in the Slovak Republic)

← 210. ATVP v skladu s priporočilom OFS izdala mnenje glede izplačil dividend in dobičkov finančnih družb, ki jih nadzira | ATVP - Agencija za trg vrednostnih papirjev (a-tvp.si) (in Slovenian) for the SMA and https://www.a-zn.si/sporocilo-za-javnost-zacasno-zadrzanje-izplacila-dividend-v-zavarovalnicah-pozavarovalnicah-pokojninskim-druzbah-je-v-interesu-vseh-deleznikov/ (in Slovenian) for the ISA

← 211. https://www.a-zn.si/sporocilo-za-javnost-zagotavljanje-financne-stabilnosti-v-okoliscinah-epidemije-COVID-19-z-zacasnim-zadrzanjem-izplacila-dividend/ (in Slovenian)

← 212. Sporočilo za javnost: AZN pričakuje, da dividende ne bodo izplačane do konca septembra 2021 (a-zn.si) (in Slovenian)

← 213. Spremembe pri vodenju postopkov ATVP zaradi interventnih ukrepov (COVID-19) | ATVP - Agencija za trg vrednostnih papirjev (a-tvp.si) (in Slovenian)

← 214. Spremembe pri vodenju upravnih postopkov ATVP zaradi začasnih interventnih ukrepov (COVID-19) | ATVP - Agencija za trg vrednostnih papirjev (a-tvp.si) (in Slovenian)

← 215. ATVP svari pred nepremišljenimi naložbami | ATVP - Agencija za trg vrednostnih papirjev (a-tvp.si) (in Slovenian)

← 216. 20210122 Nota publica dividendos_v ESP.pdf (mineco.es) (in Spanish)

← 217. https://www.boe.es/diario_boe/txt.php?id=BOE-A-2020-4208 (in Spanish)

← 218. https://www.oecd.org/daf/fin/private-pensions/Financial-Incentives-for-Funded-Pension-Plans-in-OECD-Countries-2019.pdf

← 219. Boletín de información trimestral segundo trimestre.pdf (mineco.es) (in Spanish)

← 220. Short-time work allowance 2020 - Tillväxtverket (tillvaxtverket.se)

← 221. Short-time work allowance 2021 - Tillväxtverket (tillvaxtverket.se)

← 222. Questions and Answers - Tillväxtverket (tillvaxtverket.se)

← 223. The support was calculated on employees’ salary capped at SEK 44 000 per month.

← 224. Short-time working allowance - verksamt.se

← 225. https://www.fi.se/sv/publicerat/nyheter/2020/forsakringsforetag-och-tjanstepensionskassor-bor-anvanda-sina-buffertar/ (in Swedish)

← 226. https://www.riksdagen.se/sv/dokument-lagar/dokument/_sfs-2020-198 (in Swedish)

← 227. https://www.ipe.com/news/sweden-eases-iorp-ii-rules-for-covid-hit-pension-funds/10046486.article

← 228. https://svenskforfattningssamling.se/doc/2020935.html (in Swedish)

← 229. https://www.fi.se/sv/publicerat/nyheter/2020/bedragare-utger-sig-att-ringa-fran-fi/ (in Swedish)

← 230. Finansiella företag ska vara återhållsamma med utdelningar till och med september 2021 | Finansinspektionen

← 231. https://www.bsv.admin.ch/bsv/fr/home/publications-et-services/medieninformationen/nsb-anzeigeseite-unter-aktuell.msg-id-81044.html (in French)

← 232. https://www.admin.ch/opc/fr/official-compilation/2020/3835.pdf (in French)

← 233. https://www.finma.ch/fr/news/2020March 20200325-mm-garantiepaket/ (in French)

← 234. https://www.finma.ch/fr/news/2020April 20200407-meldung-finma-aufsichtsmitteilung-03-2020/ (in French)

← 235. https://www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/en/COVID-19-coronavirus-what-you-need-to-consider/db-scheme-funding-and-investment-COVID-19-guidance-for-trustees

← 236. COVID-19 DB scheme funding investment trustees | The Pensions Regulator

← 237. DC trustees: COVID-19 scheme management and investment guidance | The Pensions Regulator

← 238. Need help paying this year’s levy invoice? | Pension Protection Fund (ppf.co.uk)

← 239. PPF extends 90-day levy payment window for schemes impacted by COVID-19 | Pension Protection Fund

← 240. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

← 241. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/chancellor-extends-furlough-scheme-until-october

← 242. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/changes-to-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme/changes-to-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

← 243. The date changed and been brought forward as the CJRS was extended.

← 244. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/job-support-scheme

← 245. Who is claiming furlough? HMRC publishes its first list - Lexology

← 246. Automatic enrolment and DC pension contributions: COVID-19 guidance for employers | The Pensions Regulator

← 247. Salary sacrifice for employers - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

← 248. PS19/1: Retirement Outcomes Review: feedback on CP18/17 and our final rules and guidance | FCA

← 249. PS19/21: Retirement Outcomes Review: feedback on CP19/5 and our final rules and guidance | FCA

← 250. Pension schemes to issue COVID-19 transfer warning to savers | The Pensions Regulator

← 251. Pensions and Retirement income: our guidance for firms | FCA

← 252. https://www.ppf.co.uk/sites/default/files/file-2020-05/COVID-19-and-your-pension.pdf

← 253. New measures to protect pension savers from scam transfers - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) and New regulations empower trustees to halt suspicious transfers | The Pensions Regulator

← 254. P.L. 116-136 (27 March, 2020). John J. Topelski, Elizabeth A. Myers, Cong. Research Serv., IF 1 142 Retirement and Pension Provisions in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) (April 2020).

← 255. The SECURE Act, passed as part of the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020, (P.L. 116-94), increased the age at which RMDs must begin from 70.5 to 72.

← 256. https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/n-20-51.pdf

← 257. IRS: Seniors, retirees not required to take distributions from retirement accounts this year under new law | Internal Revenue Service

← 258. Notice 2020-61 (irs.gov)

← 259. N-2020-82 (irs.gov)

← 260. Notice 2020-61 (irs.gov)

← 261. Adverse consequences from COVID-19 may occur as a result of being quarantined, furloughed, or laid off, or of having work hours reduced due to such virus or disease, being unable to work due to lack of child care due to such virus or disease, closing or reducing hours of a business owned or operated by the individual due to such virus or disease, or other factors as determined by US regulatory authorities.

← 262. Text - H.R.133 - 116th Congress (2019-2020): Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 | Congress.gov | Library of Congress https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=ffeb6b14-3b1e-4739-8eab-1bbe776b0804&utm_source=lexology+daily+newsfeed&utm_medium=html+email+-+body+-+general+section&utm_campaign=lexology+subscriber+daily+feed&utm_content=lexology+daily+newsfeed+2021-03-16&utm_term=

← 263. Money Purchase Pension Plan Definition (investopedia.com)

← 264. Text - H.R.1319 - 117th Congress (2021-2022): American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 | Congress.gov | Library of Congress

← 265. PBGC to Provide Special Financial Assistance to Troubled Multiemployer Plans | Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation and hwaysandmeansreconciliation.pdf (cbo.gov)

← 266. American Rescue Plan Includes Significant Relief for Troubled Multiemployer Pension Plans - Lexology

← 267. PBGC to Provide Special Financial Assistance to Troubled Multiemployer Plans | Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation

← 268. American Rescue Plan Act FAQs | Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (pbgc.gov)

← 269. Not all previous benefit cuts are undone and restored under the statute. The only benefit cuts subject to reinstatement are benefit suspensions under the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act and benefit suspensions to the PBGC guaranteed benefit level stemming from a plan’s insolvency. Other types of benefit cuts (e.g. to “adjustable benefits”) allowable to Critical Status plans are not restored.

← 270. New COVID-19 Stimulus Bill Includes Significant Pension Reforms and Expands Scope of 162(m) Compensation Deduction Limit - Lexology

← 271. Text - H.R.1319 - 117th Congress (2021-2022): American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 | Congress.gov | Library of Congress

← 272. New COVID-19 Stimulus Bill Includes Significant Pension Reforms and Expands Scope of 162(m) Compensation Deduction Limit - Lexology

← 273. US. Pension relief paves way for more de-risking - Pension Policy International

← 274. EmergencyPensionPlanReliefActof2021Summary.pdf (jacksonlewis.com)

← 275. US. DOL Issues Cybersecurity Best Practices for Retirement Plans - Pension Policy International

Metadata, Legal and Rights

This document, as well as any data and map included herein, are without prejudice to the status of or sovereignty over any territory, to the delimitation of international frontiers and boundaries and to the name of any territory, city or area. Extracts from publications may be subject to additional disclaimers, which are set out in the complete version of the publication, available at the link provided.

© OECD 2022

The use of this work, whether digital or print, is governed by the Terms and Conditions to be found at https://www.oecd.org/termsandconditions.