Munich Personal RePEc Archive

The efficiency of Italian pension funds: costs, membership, assets

Di Gialleonardo, Luca and Mare, Mauro (2016): The efficiency of Italian pension funds: costs, membership, assets.

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Abstract

The scope of the supplementary pension funds is to provide workers with a satisfactory standard of living at retirement. An efficient and affordable system of pension funds is therefore an important factor to realize the workers’ aims of maximizing the value of their pension wealth. A rationalization of the industry structure, leading to the creation of bigger pension funds, that should be better able to take advantage of economies of scale, might contain the costs sustained by participants. In this paper, and for the first time (to the best of our knowledge), we attempt to carry out an econometric study of the principal factors which determine the costs level and the efficiency of Italian pension funds. Based on an original dataset of Italian closed pension funds in the 2007-2013 period, this work runs a panel estimate of the impact of dimension (the number of participants) on administrative costs. Our results highlight the existence of important overall economies of scale and that in those funds characterized by the outsourcing of some activities, the administrative costs result smaller. We adopt the same dataset also for the open pension funds, in order to evaluate the link between financial costs and the sum of resources under management. The estimates do not confirm the existence of particular economies of scale, probably due to the distinctive traits of the complementary pension funds industry in Italy. The commission fees of the financial management of pension funds, in particular of closed type, are much lower than those relative to other financial services and also to other types of foreign pension funds. This situation, fuelled by competition among financial managers, has gone on for some time, thus further limiting the ways in which savings can be made through an increase in the volume of the assets managed.

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