Overview Key implications

What makes a world-class pension system in 2020?

Pension systems around the world are facing additional pressures in 2020. The widespread economic impact due to COVID-19 has had both immediate and long-term implications for retirees. Additionally, increasing life expectancies and rising pressure on public resources to support the health and welfare of older citizens will affect how citizens around the world will retire in the mid to long-term. 

“The economic recession caused by the global health crisis has led to lower pension contributions, reduced investment returns and higher government debt in most countries. Inevitably this will reduce future pensions in retirement. This will mean some individuals will need to work longer whereas others may adopt a higher level of investment risk for their savings or have to settle for a lower standard of living in retirement.” – Dr David Knox


Despite these challenges, pension systems are still more important than ever as households aspire to maintain their living standards throughout retirement. It’s critical that policy-makers and governments reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of their systems to ensure stronger long-term outcomes for the retirees of the future. 


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Mercer CFA Institute 2020 Global Pension Index

MCGPI coverage

Covers almost two-thirds of the world‘s population.

MCGPI measurement

Ranks 39 retirement income systems against more than 50 indicators.

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Recommends actions for improvements in each system.




Key implications to pension systems in 2020



As the world reacted to COVID-19, governments deployed a range of responses to support their citizens. There have also been diverse approaches put in place by governments, regulators, fiduciaries and individual members in effort to reduce the impact of COVID-19 to pension systems.


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Gender gap

Gender gap

The gender gap in retirement benefits around the world is growing – but so is awareness of this inequity. There are many reasons contributing to this gap, including time taken out of the workforce by many women to provide care for both young children and ageing relatives.


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Ageing population

Increasing life expectancy

With increasing life expectancies and the pressures associated with an ageing population, sustainability will be a weakness for several pension systems. The report measures the likelihood of a current system can provide benefits into the future, and highlights opportunities to strengthen long-term effectiveness.


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