Completion date: April 2018

Client: APAPR

Project: 10 years of mandatory private pensions in Romania

Context & objectives

The celebration of 10 years of Romanian activity of the Pension Pillar II coincided with a crossroads moment, when setting up the mandatory private pensions was significantly impacted by the political initiatives taken in the public space, during the past 6 months: from the nationalization of Pillar II and transfer of funds accumulated in Pillar I (state pension), to a series of scenarios to reduce the contribution to Pillar II. In the absence of a long-term sustained initiative by APAPR to educate the population on the significance of Pillar II, it became vulnerable from the viewpoint of perception, and public decision-making. Unfortunately, a large part of the population (particularly the young population) had learned about the Pension Pillar II in a disadvantageous context. A decade of operation in Romania had passed for the Pillar meant to strengthen and complement the Romanian public pension system, and the industry needed to come forward at a statement-event (the largest of the sort, at that point), meant to improve its position in the public eye, and to consolidate its relationship with the mass-media.

Idea

Celebrating a decade of activity, the central message of the Association that manages the Romanian people’s money was meant to be a message of responsibility, stability, and transparency, all proven by a concrete and meticulous balance for the past 10 years. The concept of the event took the direction of justifying every single RON. For 10 years of private pensions, every RON has mattered and continues to matter for the administrators who take care of the Romanians’ pension money. Each RON was invested, supervised, reported, monitored, cultivated and multiplied. APAPR has taken care and continues to take care of EACH RON. After 10 years of activity in Romania, we have brought forward EVERY RON.

Strategy

Considering that APAPR had never organized an event of this size with the press until that moment, we focused on identifying new and relevant content, adjusted to several types of public: the general public, for whom explaining economy terms is required, and the specialized public. Another point of our strategy was bringing forward certain neutral KOLs (finance people from Romanian independent institutions – CFA, and representatives of international institutions – Pensions Europe), to present the context and the necessity to have a pension system complementary to the state pension, as objectively as possible. And to present the fact that Romanian is not a single case, and that it aligns to the global context, going in the direction of a mixed pension system, dictated by the demographic reality: an increasing number of senior citizens, higher life expectancy versus fewer people active on the labour market, decreasing birth rate etc.

Implementation

After 10 years on the Romanian market, APAPR wanted to find out what the Romanians know and think about Pillar II, which is the generation perception of the pension system in general, which are the expectation for retirement. Thus, we initiated a national study on the Ivox platform (a representative sample of Internet users from the urban environment), with spectacular results, showing the need for the Pillar II to continue. The Romanians have proven not only that they trust Pillar II, but also that they have extremely high expectations from the retirement, exceeding the current reality. The new data proves the need to maintain Pillar II as a system complementary to the state pension, which will be incapable of meeting the needs and expectations of the Romanians (case which also occurred in other states). The data were communicated for the first time at a large event attended by general and economic press. Besides the results of this study, another national premiere were the saving simulations presented at the event, plus an up-to-date activity report, a report on the Pillar II output compared to other states etc., answering honestly to all the questions asked by the journalists. The event was divided into two sessions: the session dedicated to the general press, and a more specialized session, dedicated to the financial press, which is interested in the subtleties of the capital market, investments etc.

Results

The event generated massive media coverage, with APAPR’s key-messages about Pillar II being fully and positively relayed. Over 30 items of TV news, over half of which run in prime time, 10 radio items of news, 5 pieces published by national press agencies, 10 pieces in print editions of the most influential national publications (Evenimentul zilei, Adevărul, Jurnalul Național, Bursa, Curierul Național, Ziarul Financiar etc.), 25 pieces on general news portals, 20 pieces in the business press, 20 pieces in the local press, taken over by dozens of news aggregators. A total of over 100 occurrences, with a total reach estimated at 30 million opportunities to see. The event which marked 10 years of activity on the Romanian market also represented a starting point for a long-term dialogue with the press, on one hand, and with the participants in Pillar II, the future participants, their families, the authorities, partners, and other stakeholders, on the other hand. In 2018, the architecture of the Romanian pension system is unchanged, the Pension Pillar II continues to be mandatory, in complementarity with Pillar I, the only change being that the contribution is lowered (not at the level mentioned in the public space, by that moment), situation which can be reversed in the future.