One of the big moves to stabilize the Chinese stock market during its summer rout was to allow pension funds to invest in stocks. However, it’s taken the government some time to figure out the best way to do this. On Tuesday, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security said the whole thing should be ready in 2016.
“We’ll push forward for a launch in 2016 and ensure local pension funds are in place for investment then,” said Li Zhong, spokesperson for the ministry, at a press conference, according to state-run paper People’s Daily
Currently, officials are researching the best way to transfer funds from local governments to the provincial level and allocating funds to authorized institutions for investment.
In Augusts, China’s cabinet, the State Council, finalized the guidelines that allowed pension funds to invest in higher-return products, including stocks and equities.
While the move was in response to the stock market’s decline, there had been calls to allow the pensions to invest outside of just banks or low-yielding treasury bonds in order to meet the challenge of having enough to pay for the country’s growing elderly population.
To minimize risk, the guidelines say only 30% of total net assets can be invested in equities. Provincial-level governments determine the amount to be invested, and only institutions authorized by the State Council can manage and invest the funds.
Around 2 trillion yuan ($315 billion ) of the funds’ total assets can be invested in various products, said You Jun, vice minister of human resources and social security, in August.
China’s pension funds, which account for roughly 90 percent of the country’s total social security fund pool, had net assets of 3.5 trillion yuan at the end of 2014, said People’s Daily.