Argentina: Government Seeks to Nationalize Private Retirement Funds

The Argentinean government recently announced that they would send a proposal to the Congress by which the Pension and Retirement Plan Administration or AFJP in Spanish (also known as mutual funds in the US) would become nationalized. The AFJP privately manages millions of Argentineans’ retirement funds, and under the proposal, their funds would now go to the State. The political debate will go to National Congress, but many blogs have commented on the possible changes.

On the side of those who oppose, there are two quite evident arguments: that this is a sacking of a lot of Argentineans’ retirement contributions, and the only reason for this change is to increase the government's revenues in the short term. Guillermo Riera of Demasiada Información [es] states:

De seguir con el sistema de reparto, en veinte años el Estado estará imposibilitado para pagar jubilación alguna, sencillamente porque habrá tantos jubilados que no habrá recaudación que alcance.

By staying in the public system, twenty years from now the government will be unable to pay any retirement benefits at all, simply because there will be so many retired people, that there won't be enough funds for them all.

Esteban Grinberg of De Todo Un Poco [es] points out that

La excusa del gobierno para hacer estatizar las jubilaciones, es la perdida de rentabilidad que han sufrido las AFJP producto de la crisis mundial, que se calcula en un 20%. Un argumento demasiado apresurado y conyuntural como para modificar drasticamente el sistema de jubilaciones.

The government's excuse to nationalize the retirement funds is the lack of profitability that AFJPs have suffered as a result of the world crisis, which is estimated at 20%. This is an extremely rushed and contextual argument for drastically modifying the retirement funds system.

There are more opinions against the measures at No Me Parece [es], Speedy González es de la DEA [es] and La Historia Paralela [es].

On the side of those who are in favor, it is being said that AFJPs have been a complete failure and that the pensions paid are even lower than the public system's. Besides, they charge high commission fees to their affiliates, even when they have negative returns. At Los 3 Chiflados [es] they point out the system only helped the banks in making business deals with the State and that it never really channeled the funds towards productive investments. Mendieta el Renegáu [es] adds that many media companies are campaigning against this change because AFJPs are big advertisers on their programs. More opinions in favor can be read at El Bar de Moe [es] and Miguel Contissa [es]. The latter states that among the administrative expenses the AFJPs could charge their affiliates was advertising in the media.

Other summaries about the topic of the disappearing of th AFJPs can be found at Traders del Merval [es]; Kust [es]; Al Centro y Adentro [es]; and Leo Piccioli [es].

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