The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic provoked a global health, economic and financial crisis. These events, unprecedented in recent history, have had an impact on asset-backed pension systems, adding to the significant challenges many countries were already facing in this domain, challenges like population ageing.

This report first assesses the impact COVID-19 had on asset-backed pension systems in OECD and selected non-OECD member countries and describes the policy guidelines that the OECD issued to assist pension policy makers, regulators and supervisors in addressing those challenges. Secondly, it presents a non-exhaustive compilation of the main policy initiatives implemented by OECD member countries during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021. Thirdly, it assesses those policies to see whether they were in line with the main OECD policy messages.

The second part of this publication takes a forward-looking approach. It first analyses the short-term and long-term impacts of COVID-19 on mortality. It provides views on how to incorporate the impact that COVID-19 had on mortality in 2020-21 for the estimation of future mortality and life expectancy. It then discusses how assets earmarked for retirement can be used to support economic recovery and sustainable investments while investing in the best interests of members.

Finally, this publication presents the main policy considerations or lessons learnt to guide pension policy makers, regulators, and supervisors through future shocks to asset-backed pension systems.

This report is the work of staff from the Pensions Unit in the Consumer Finance, Insurance and Pensions Division of the OECD Directorate for Financial and Enterprise Affairs. It has benefited from contributions by national government delegates, particularly delegates to the Working Party on Private Pensions, as well as from Members of the International Organisation of Pension Supervisors (IOPS). The views expressed here do not necessarily correspond to those of the national authorities concerned.

The editorial team for this publication was led by Pablo Antolín. Chapter 1 was prepared by Pablo Antolín and Romain Despalins; Chapter 2 by Romain Despalins; Chapter 3 by Stéphanie Payet; Chapter 4 by Jessica Mosher; and Chapter 5 by Diana Hourani and Stéphanie Payet. The authors of Chapter 5 would also like to thank Iota Nassr and Joel Paula from the OECD Directorate for Financial and Enterprise Affairs, as well as Fiona Stewart from the World Bank Group. Editorial and communication support was provided by Pamela Duffin, Liv Gudmundson and Eva Abbott.

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