China has an extensive social insurance system, but so far, still has an under-developed second pillar. Known as the enterprise annuity (EA), additional occupational pension insurance is offered through employers, and has been promoted since 2005 by the State Council of China.
While the EA market has developed dramatically over the past six years, in 2011, China’s EAs entered a new era. With the twelfth five-year plan clearly stating support for developing EAs further, newly issued Enterprise Annuity Fund Management Regulations implemented on May 1, 2011, pave the way for rapid growth, and should help to regulate fund investments and ensure sustainable performance.

Occupational pensions on trial
In fact, it was in 2008 that the State Council of China decided to start pre-trials of occupational pension schemes in Shanxi, Shanghai, Zhejiang, Guangdong and Chongqing, in parallel with the reform of state-owned companies. However, because the retirement pension schemes of these companies and private enterprises are quite different, the reforms have not yet achieved the expected results.

In 2011, the State Council issued two documents to push reform further by drawing on the experiences of the pilot provinces and cities. State-owned companies are now classified into three categories, and some public institutions will be permitted to establish occupational pensions.

The regulations have brought new opportunities to China’s pension market and will help to promote the development of occupational pensions in general.

Ping An leads the annuity market
According to official statistics issued this summer, Ping An Annuity was China’s leading provider of enterprise annuities, with over RMB 33 billion in trustee and 49 billion in investment assets in June 2011. In addition to its experience and outstanding service capabilities in the EA field, Ping An is also the only pension insurer with a nationwide network. The company has ambitious plans to further expand its leading position and to serve its clients even better as China’s occupational pension sector matures and develops.

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