JAPAN - Employer Retirement Risk Implications of Reduction to Investment Product Returns
General account products provided by each life insurance company maintained a uniform interest rate of 1.25%. As bond yields continued to decline in recent years, it became more and more difficult to maintain the same level of guaranteed interest on general account products. Since each life insurance company has practically stopped underwriting new general accounts, it can be seen that it is becoming difficult to maintain general accounts at the current guaranteed interest rate. Reflecting this is also the fact that life insurance companies stopped underwriting new general account products.
From the perspective of the Defined Benefit (DB) Corporate Pensions, these products with a yield of 1.25% and virtually no risk were indispensable for constructing a portfolio of pension assets to secure stable returns while limiting risk. With the reduced interest however, companies that used to utilise these products may need to look at their pension asset portfolio and make changes to their allocation.
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