¿Rapiña en contra de las pensiones?

Cuando Argentina dejó de tener acceso a los créditos a finales de 2001, el gobierno recurrió a medidas desesperadas en un vano intento por evitar el desastre. Los fondos de pensiones privatizados (creados en 1994 como resultado de una reforma a la seguridad social basada en cuentas individuales investidas en bonos y acciones) fueron una de las víctimas. El gobierno recalendarizó por la fuerza los títulos de deuda pública de esos fondos, conocidos localmente como AFJP. También "pesificó" esos títulos, que a mediados de 2001 ascendían a más del 60% del portafolio de los fondos de pensiones, convirtiendo de hecho los activos denominados en dólares a pesos locales de la noche a la mañana.

Esta "confiscación" sucedió después de varios años en que los valores de alto riesgo del gobierno habían obtenido dividendos muy altos. Entre septiembre de 1994 (su primer año de operación) y enero de 2001, los AFJP tuvieron una tasa anual de rendimiento de 10.9% en dólares, casi 600 puntos de base por encima de lo que se podía obtener en bonos de la Tesorería de los EU.

Hay una lección obvia que se puede desprender de la experiencia argentina: si los fondos de pensiones invierten en obligaciones de alto riesgo del sector público, una estrategia común en América Latina durante la transición de los sistemas de régimen de pagos con cargo a los ingresos corrientes a esquemas basados en cuentas capitalizadas individuales, los pagos estarán en riesgo desde el principio. Los fondos de pensiones podrían estar sujetos a un trato arbitrario. Pero esta era justamente la situación que la reforma a la seguridad social debía eliminar.

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