Legal basis of operation of pension funds in Poland
The main legal act regulating the rules of establishment and operation of pension funds in Poland is the Act of 28 August 1997 on the organization and operation of pension funds (Journal of Laws of 2016, item. 291, as amended).
According to the Act, the pension fund is a legal entity and the scope of its activities is collection and investment of financial resources, subject to ensure maximum safety and profitability of investments, with the purpose of the payment of benefits to the fund members after reaching the retirement age, and the payment of periodic capital pensions referred to in the Act of 21 November 2008 on capital pensions (Journal of Laws of 2014, item 1097, as amended).
The managing body of the pension fund and representing it in relations with third parties is a pension society. The pension fund can be created only by the pension society, after obtaining authorization from the Polish Financial Supervision Authority (link opens a new window in another website), as an open pension fund, an occupational pension fund or a voluntary pension fund (from 1 January 2012).
Membership in pension funds
Acquisition of membership in the open fund shall take place from the moment of conclusion of the agreement with the fund, if on the day of conclusion of the first agreement with the open fund the person acceding to the fund is or has been covered, within 4 months before the day of conclusion of the agreement, by pension insurance within the meaning of provisions on social insurance system, and the Social Insurance Institution makes an adequate entry to the Central Register of Members of Open Pension Funds.
Acquisition of membership in the voluntary fund shall take place from the moment of conclusion of agreement to conduct an individual retirement account or an individual retirement security account.
A member of the occupational fund may be an individual who meets the criteria of a member of an occupational pension scheme specified in the Act of 20 April 2004 on the occupational pension schemes (Journal of Laws of 2016, item 1449).
The assets of the pension fund are stored by a depositary chosen by the fund. Eligible to be the depositary shall be that bank which meets the conditions set out in the Act, or the National Depository for Securities (link opens a new window in another website). The primary responsibility of the depositary is to store the fund assets and ensure that they are invested in accordance with the law and the articles of association of the fund. The depositary also provides the performance of the duties of the fund in accordance with the law and the articles of association of the fund. The depositary shall promptly inform the supervision authority of any such actions and omissions or irregularities of the fund, which in its opinion, are in violation of the law, the provisions of the articles of association of the fund, or cause the interests of fund members are not properly taken into account. The depositary shall also act on behalf of fund members with an action against the pension society for damage caused by non-performance or improper performance of its duties in the scope of the management of the fund and its representation.
Protection of fund members
On the basis of the Act on the organization and operation of pension funds, the Guarantee Fund has been established, the administrator of which is the National Depository for Securities (link opens a new window in another website). The revenues of the Guarantee Fund are the compulsory payments made by the general pension societies from their own resources, revenues from investments of Fund resources and other revenues gained from Fund administration by the National Depository. Payments of the general pension society to the Guarantee Fund are part of the net assets of the open pension fund managed by this society, which are defined as the same percentage for all open pension funds. The resources of the Guarantee Fund shall not be subject to execution conducted from the assets of the general pension society.
From the resources of the Guarantee Fund damages are covered which are caused by non-performance or improper performance of the duties of the society referring to the management of the fund and its representation, in the scope in which the general pension society does not assume any responsibility for those damages, or those damages may not be covered from the bankrupt's assets of the society.
Number of pension funds and their members
Open pension funds
At the end of 2015, 12 open pension funds and the same number of pension societies conducted activities in Poland. The number of members of the open pension funds decreased during 2015 compared with the end of 2014 at 0.5% and amounted to 16,532,142 people.
Occupational pension funds
At the end of 2015, 4 occupational pension funds conducted activities in Poland. The number of members of the occupational pension funds declined during 2015 compared with the end of 2014 by 0,5% and amounted to 44,533 people.
For more information on pension funds please visit the website of the Polish Financial Supervision Authority (link opens a new window in another website).A list of currently operating pension funds in Poland can also be found on that website.
In accordance with the provisions of the Act on departments of government administration - the minister responsible for social security and pension funds is the Minister of Labour and Social Policy (social security department). For more information about Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Policy please visit the website: Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Policy (link opens a new window in another website).