USAID Bulgaria Labor Market Project Holds Pension Reform Conference in Sofia, Bulgaria

Sofia, Bulgaria—In recognition of Bulgaria's significant achievements in the area of pension reform, Sofia will host an international conference that will focus on presenting the preparation and design of the country's reform activities, as well as the successful partnership between the national government and the donor organizations. The conference will be held on February 16 – 17 and participants from a number of European countries will be invited in order to place Bulgaria and its achievements clearly on the map of Europe’s financial markets.

Since 1998, the pension reform component of the USAID Bulgaria Labor Market Project (LMP), implemented by CARANA Corporation, has provided assistance to the Government of Bulgaria in the implementation of a modern three-pillar pension system. Some significant achievements from the project include the following:

  The LMP was directly involved in drafting new legislation mandating a reform in the existing public pay-as-you-go system and the introduction of private mandatory and voluntary pension systems.
  The project participated in the institutional development of a pension regulatory body to assist in developing vital regulations, staff training and on- and off-site supervision, as well as the licensing of the private pension companies.
  The project worked on the development and strengthening of private pension companies and held various training courses in key areas for the pension industry such as management, marketing, financial analyses and accounting, international accounting standards, and investment.
  In 2003, the non-banking financial supervision was consolidated thus forming the Financial Supervision Commission. The LMP provided extensive assistance with the consolidation of the unified regulator in the form of working groups, study tours, training courses and daily operational assistance with various routine tasks.
  The project helped the Government of Bulgaria raise the public awareness of the new aspects of social insurance and the benefits of participating in the new system.
  The project developed information technologies for the Project’s counterparts for data collection, record-keeping, collection of contributions and their transfer to private pension funds, daily asset valuation, and unit values.
  The LMP served as a liaison between all institutions involved in the pension reform.

The conference is organized by the LMP under the patronage of the President of the Republic of Bulgaria, Mr. Georgi Parvanov, in partnership with the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, the Financial Supervision Commission, the National Social Security Institute, and the Bulgarian Association of Supplementary Pension Security Companies. The major objectives of the conference are to review Bulgaria's accomplishments in the pension provision area, to offer a detailed assessment of the Bulgarian pension reform and the pension model adopted in the country, and to outline possibilities for replicating Bulgaria's success in the region and in other countries.