Money-Back Guarantees in Individual Pension Accounts: Evidence from the German Pension Reform

Raimond Maurer and Christian Schlag

Abstract — The German Retirement Saving Act instituted a new funded system of supplementary pensions coupled with a general reduction in the level of state pay-as-you-go old-age pensions. In order to qualify for tax relief, the providers of supplementary savings products must offer a guarantee of the nominal value at retirement of contributions paid into these saving accounts. This paper explores how this “money-back” guarantee works and evaluates alternative designs for guarantee structures, including a life cycle model (dynamic asset allocation), a plan with a pre-specified blend of equity and bond investments (static asset allocation), and some type of portfolio insurance. We use a simulation methodology to compare hedging effectiveness and hedging costs associated with the provision of the money-back guarantee. In addition, the guarantee has important implications for regulators who must find an appropriate solvency system for such saving schemes.