China to transfer state assets to social security funds


Gate of the National Council for Social Security Fund. (Photo: CGTN)

China will transfer some state assets, including shares of state-owned companies (SOE) and financial institutions, to the country's social security funds as an aging society puts pressure on pension payments, an official document showed Saturday.

The assets will be transferred to the National Council for Social Security Fund (NCSSF) and wholly state-owned companies, according to a document released by the State Council.

The transfer ratio will be 10 percent of the state-owned equity.

Under certain circumstances and upon approval, the NCSSF can set up a pension fund management company to independently operate the transferred assets.

The NCSSF and local SOEs that receive the equity can earn dividends from SOE shares and have the right to disposal, but will not be involved in the management decisions of the companies, the document said. 


China's financial social security card. (Photo: CGTN)

Pilot programs on the transfer will start in 2017, with shares of three to five centrally supervised SOEs and two central financial institutions to be transferred.

Starting in 2018, the program will be expanded to more centrally supervised companies, with assets to be transferred in groups. 

The move will ensure the sustainable development of the country's basic pension insurance system, while also diversifying the capital structure of SOEs as part of an ongoing reform to improve SOE efficiency, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) said in an online statement.

The program will only involve a small number of listed SOEs, with the majority being non-listed central and local SOE equity, the MOF said.

With more than 200 million people over the age of 60, China faces a severe challenge in meeting its pension obligations. 

Since the end of 2016, seven provincial-level regions have entrusted their pensions to the NCSSF in the hope of more diverse and higher returns.