Pension fund

A pension fund, also known as a superannuation fund in some countries, is any plan, fund, or scheme which provides retirement income.

Pension funds typically have large amounts of money to invest and are the major investors in listed and private companies. They are especially important to the stock market where large institutional investors dominate. The largest 300 pension funds collectively hold about $6 trillion in assets.[1] In January 2008, The Economist reported that Morgan Stanley estimates that pension funds worldwide hold over US$20 trillion in assets, the largest for any category of investor ahead of mutual funds, insurance companies, currency reserves, sovereign wealth funds, hedge funds, or private equity.[2]

The Federal Old-age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund is the world's largest public pension fund which oversees $2.72 trillion USD in assets.


Open vs. closed pension funds

Open pension funds support at least one pension plan with no restriction on membership while closed pension funds support only pension plans that are limited to certain employees.[3]

Closed pension funds are further subclassified into:

  • Single employer pension funds
  • Multi-employer pension funds
  • Related member pension funds
  • Individual pension funds

Public vs. private pension funds

A public pension fund is one that is regulated under public sector law while a private pension fund is regulated under private sector law.

In certain countries the distinction between public or government pension funds and private pension funds may be difficult to assess. In others, the distinction is made sharply in law, with very specific requirements for administration and investment. For example, local governmental bodies in the United States are subject to laws passed by the states in which those localities exist, and these laws include provisions such as defining classes of permitted investments and a minimum municipal obligation.[4][5]

Largest pension funds

Country Fund Assets US$ (in billions) Reporting
Inception Origin
 United StatesFederal Old-age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund (Social Security)$2720[6]20181935Taxation
 AustraliaAustralian National Superannuation Scheme$2530[7]2017Employer & Employee Contribution
 NorwayGovernment Pension Fund of Norway$1046[8]20151990Oil
 JapanGovernment Pension Investment Fund$1103[8]20152006Non-commodity
 United StatesCivil Service Retirement and Disability Fund$915[9]20181920Employer & Employee Contribution
 United StatesMilitary Retirement Fund$730[10]2018Employer Contribution
 United StatesThrift Savings Plan (TSP)$546[11]20181986Employer & Employee Contribution
 South KoreaNational Pension Service (NPS)$462[8]20171988Non-commodity
 NetherlandsStichting Pensioenfonds ABP (ABP)$388[12] (€344)1922Non-commodity
 CanadaCanada Pension Plan and CPP Investment Board$317[13]20171965Non-commodity
 Canada (Quebec)Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (The Caisse, or CDPQ)$299[14]20171965Non-commodity
 United States (California)California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS)$370[15]20191932Non-commodity
 ChinaNational Social Security Fund$251[8]20152000Non-commodity
 SingaporeCentral Provident Fund$208[16]20141955Non-commodity
 United States (California)California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS)$206[17]2017 1913Non-commodity
 MalaysiaEmployees Provident Fund$185[16]20141991Non-commodity
 NetherlandsStichting Pensioenfonds Zorg en Welzijn (PFZW, formerly PGGM)$183[18] (€162)1969Non-commodity
 Canada (Ontario)Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan$176[19]20161989Non-commodity
 IndiaEmployees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO)$128[8]20151952Non-commodity
 DenmarkArbejdsmarkedets Tillægspension (ATP)$119[21]20181964Non-commodity
 South AfricaGovernment Employees Pension Fund (GEPF)$112 (ZAR1426b)1996Non-commodity
 BrazilCaixa de Previdencia dos Funcionários do Banco do Brasil (PREVI)$80[22]1904Finance
 United States (Ohio)State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio (STRS Ohio)$76[23]2017 1919Defined Benefit Pension
Russia Russian National Wealth Fund 75,6 [38] 2018 2008 Oil
 FranceAGIRC - ARRCO$70[8]20152001Non-commodity
 FrancePensions Reserve Fund (France) (NPRF)$56[24]2001Non-commodity
 IrelandNational Pension Reserve Fund (NPRF)$30[25]2001Non-commodity

By country



Industry (not-for-profit)




  • Aceprev
  • Baneses
  • Banesprev
  • Centrus
  • Forluz
  • Funcef
  • Fundação Banrisul
  • Fundação CESP
  • Fundação Itaubanco
  • Petros
  • PREVI - Caixa de Previdência dos Funcionários do Banco do Brasil[27] (the closed private pension fund for employees of the Brazilian federal government-owned bank)
  • Sistel
  • Valia




  • Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology Pension Plan (CAAT)
  • Boilermakers Pension Fund Trust
  • Labourers' Pension Fund of Central and Eastern Canada (LIUNA)
  • Teamsters Canadian Pension Plan
  • Telecommunication Workers Pension Plan
  • UFCW Canadian Pension Plan





  • Public Employees Pension Fund[28]


  • TAPILTAT, the Fund for Mutual Assistance of the Employees of Ioniki Bank and Other Banks, the multi-employer auxiliary pension fund

Hong Kong


  • Employees' Provident Fund Organisation – a statutory body of the government of India that administers a compulsory Provident Fund Scheme, Pension Scheme and an Insurance Scheme. Provident Fund is applicable across for employees across establishments (private as well as government, subject to criteria). EPF is the largest social security organisation in India with assets well over 5 lakh crore (US$104 billion) as of 2014.[29]
  • National Pension Scheme – a defined-contribution–based pension scheme launched by the government of India open to all citizens of India on a voluntary basis and mandatory for the employees of central government (except Indian Armed Forces) who are appointed on or after 1 January 2004. Indian citizens between the age of 18 and 65 are eligible to join.[30]








The pension system in Romania is made of three pillars. One is the state pension (Pillar I – Mandatory), the second is a private mandatory pension where the state transfers a percentage of the contribution it collects for the public pension, and the third is an optional private pension (Pillar III – Voluntary).

The Financial Supervisory Authority – Private Pension is responsible for the supervision and regulation of the private pension system.[32]

Saudi Arabia

  • Public Pension Agency (PPA)
  • General Organization for Social Insurance


  • The pension system in Serbia is made of three pillars. One is the state pension (Pillar I – Mandatory), where every insured person is obliged to pay contributions from their paycheck, the second is a voluntary state pension, where an uninsured person is voluntarily included in state pension system, and the third is an optional private pension (Pillar III – Voluntary)[33].
  • Pension and disability insurance fund





Social Security Institution was established by the Social Security Institution Law No:5502 which was published in the Official Gazette No: 26173 dated 20.06.2006 and brings the Social Insurance Institution, General Directorate of Bağ-kur and General Directorate of Emekli Sandığı whose historical development are summarized above under a single roof in order to transfer five different retirement regimes which are civil servants, contractual paid workers, agricultural paid workers, self-employers and agricultural self-employers into a single retirement regime that will offer equal actuarial rights and obligations.


  • Armed Forces Pension Fund[34]

OYAK (Ordu Yardımlaşma Kurumu/Armed Forces Pension Fund) provides its members with "supplementary retirement benefits" apart from the official retirement fund, T.C.Emekli Sandığı/SSK, to which they are primarily affiliated.

In addition to the retirement benefit, OYAK pays "disability benefits" to the members on duty when they become partially or fully disabled as well as "death benefits" to the heirs of the deceased member if the death occurs during the member's subscription to the foundation.

OYAK is incorporated as a private entity under its own law subject to Turkish civic and commercial codes. OYAK, while fulfilling its legal duties, as set in the law, also provides its members with social services such as loans, home loans and retirement income systems.

The initial source of OYAK's funds is a compulsory 10 percent levy on the base salary of Turkey's 200,000 serving officers who, together with 25,000 current pensioners, make up OYAK's members.

Some other Turkish private pension funds:

  • YAPI ve KREDİ BANKASI A.Ş. Mensupları Yardım ve Emekli Sandığı Vakfı
  • AKBANK T.A.Ş. Mensupları Tekaüt Sandığı Vakfı
  • TÜRKİYE GARANTİ BANKASI A.Ş. Memur ve Müstahdemleri Emekli ve Yardım Sandığı Vakfı
  • TÜRKİYE İŞ BANKASI A.Ş. Mensupları Emekli Sandığı Vakfı

United States

In the United States, pension funds include schemes which result in a deferral of income by employees, even if retirement income provision isn't the intent.[35] The United States has $19.1 trillion in retirement and pension assets ($9.1 trillion in private funds, $10 trillion in public funds) as of December 31, 2016.[36] The largest 200 pension funds accounted for $4.540 trillion as of September 30, 2009.[37]


See also


  1. Global Investment Review
  2. The Economist Jan 17, 2008 (
  3. OECD
  4. For examples, see "Local Government Law Library". Archived from the original on 6 September 2012. Retrieved 15 May 2011.
  5. "The 20 largest pension funds of the globe". Retrieved 2018-03-11.
  6. Budget of the United States Government, FY2020, published March 18, 2019. Value as of September 30, 2018 Office of Management and Budget Retrieved April 4, 2019
  7. Superannuation Statistics, 2017. Value as of June 30, 2017. Retrieved Oct 29, 2017
  8. "Annual Survey of Large Pension Funds and Public Pension Reserve Funds" (PDF). OECD. 2016-04-21. Retrieved 2016-10-28.
  9. Budget of the United States Government, FY2020, published March 18, 2019. Value as of September 30, 2018. Office of Management and Budget Retrieved April 4, 2019
  10. Budget of the United States Government, FY2020, published March 18, 2019. Value as of September 30, 2018. Office of Management and Budget Retrieved April 4, 2019
  11. Financial Statements of the Thrift Savings Fund December 31, 2018 and 2017. As of December 31, 2018. Thrift Savings Fund. Retrieved June 16, 2019
  12. "CPP Fund Totals $317 Billion at 2017 Fiscal Year-End". Retrieved 2018-02-24.
  14. "Current Investment Fund Values". Retrieved 2019-07-01.
  15. "The world's 300 largest pension funds – year end 2014". Willis Towers Watson.
  16. "Investments Overview". Retrieved 2017-06-11.
  20. The ATP Group - Annual Announcement of Financial Statements 2018
  21. Official WebSite of PREVI - English Version
  22. FRR 2012 Annual Report
  23. NPRF
  25. Official Website of PREVI
  26. Public Employees Pension Fund
  27. EPF
  28. PFRDA
  29. Archived November 2, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  32. Armed Forces Pension Fund
  33. 29 USC § 1002 - Definitions | Title 29 - Labor | U.S. Code | LII / Legal Information Institute. Retrieved 2013-07-18.
  34. Federal Reserve Statistical Release, Financial Accounts of the United States, Fourth Quarter 2016, see pp.94-99. Values as of December 31, 2016. Federal Reserve Board of Governors. Reported March 9, 2017. Retrieved May 18, 2017
  35. P&I Online
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