The president of Grupo Sura ensures that pension systems must be reinvented

Pension systems need to be reinvented throughout the world so that they can remain viable in the face of demographic and economic changes, says David Bojanini, president of the Sura Group, the largest conglomerate of financial and industrial services in Colombia and one of the main ones in Latin America .

"The environment changes, issues such as life expectancy change, financial returns change, and that new demography makes us have to reinvent pension systems in Colombia, in France, in the United States, everywhere," Bojanini said in a interview with Efe.

The businessman will leave the presidency of Sura on March 31 after being at the head of the Group for 13 years, which has operations in 11 Latin American countries.


According to Bojanini, "there are factors that affect pensions worldwide", of which puts longevity first, because "life expectancy has been rising and that makes people cost more" once they retire , which makes the systems every day have to "pay more expensive pensions", forcing them to rethink them.

The current pension systems are designed with a pyramidal structure in which young people entering the labor market help pay with their contributions the retirement of the elderly, but due to greater life expectancy and labor informality, that relationship has changed .

However, every time the increase in the retirement age is under discussion in any country, it gives rise to protests, as has happened since the end of last year in France, where trade unions are mobilized against the pension reform of the President's Government Emmanuel Macron.

"Raising the age (of retirement) is an untouchable issue everywhere," says Bojanini, who believes that, however, at some point we will have to take that step, however unpopular it may be.


For the entrepreneur, humanity is very likely to reach "a point where he says: we will have to raise the retirement age because there are less and less young people, people live longer and people can extend their retirement age a few years and being still an active worker, that would help the longevity issue a bit. "

"These issues are very sensitive and many times the rulers are very concerned about the image, and now that we have protests on the street for anything imagine where a president goes out to say that the retirement age will rise," he says.

Bojanini clarifies that an increase in the retirement age, in the case of Colombia, for example, where it is 62 years for men and 57 for women, should be gradual because "everyone's age is not raised , you increase the age of those who are starting working life because they will live many more years. "

The other factor that affects pensions is that of the financial returns of the funds, "which today are not the same as we had twenty or thirty years ago."


The businessman says that there is no need to "disqualify the pension models because today they do not give the right conditions" but "to recompose" those who need it in countries like Chile, where dissatisfaction with the pension system is among the reasons for social protests and where Sura has its second most relevant operation in the region.

"Chile has to rebuild many things and we, as part of that society that we are today to have some companies there, we have to help but the future of Chile is still there and we will also be there in that future," he said when ratifying the conglomerate trust in that country.

In Chile, the Sura Group has a pension fund, investment fund and insurance operation.

The conglomerate's financial arm, which includes the Bancolombia Group, Sura Asset Management and Sura Seguros, Tendencies and Risks, also has operations in Mexico, El Salvador, Peru, Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, Panama and the Dominican Republic.

The Argos Group is part of the industrial portfolio, an infrastructure conglomerate that operates in the areas of cement production, energy and concessions and is present in 17 American countries, including the United States, French Guiana and several countries in the West Indies.

Sura is also in the food industry with Grupo Nutresa, the leader of the processed sector in Colombia and a regional heavyweight that has a direct presence in 14 countries with 46 production plants and exports its brands to 75 nations on five continents.

"If we look at the assets of the Sura Group, it has multiplied in these 13 years by almost three, the assets have also multiplied more than five times, and we went from 18,000 to almost 60,000 employees in all the companies that make up our portfolio," he concludes. Bojanini about the company he will leave next month and that he says he still has a lot of work to consolidate in Latin America.


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