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Malta seeks new way for pensions

The difficulties of funding state pension schemes and the need to encourage people to save is a global phenomenon with no one size fits all answer, says Maltese prime minister Dr Lawrence Gonzi.

Speaking at a seminar hos- ted by Aberdeen Asset Management in Malta last week, Gonzi said the country had consulted the World Bank, the IMF and a host of independent experts in building its proposals, which it hopes to push through this year.

The main problem is cutting costs. Malta has a net debt equivalent to 75 per cent of its GDP and needs to cut this to 65 per cent to meet the Maastricht requirements for entry into the euro, which the country hopes to achieve in 2008.

Mirroring the situation in the UK, Malta is the latest European country to undergo root and branch pension reform.

The country is looking to open up its pension system to allow private companies to compete after admitting that its state-run final-salary scheme is becoming too expensive.

Gonzi says: “Our existing pension system is very expensive and we are looking at how to use fiscal incentives to encourage people to save.”

He also told delegates that Malta’s positioning makes it an excellent gateway for product providers into both Europe and North Africa.

Aberdeen Asset Management is raising its stake in local financial services firm Global Group. Global distributes Aberdeen’s funds and the company counts Libya leader Colonel Gaddafi’s son Seif al Islam among its clients.

Aberdeen head of sales & marketing Gary Marshall says: “Global distributes Aberdeen funds and Aberdeen holds shares in Global. We are also looking at opportunities in the Maltese pension market.”


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