Bolivia seeks to nationalize pension funds

The Associated Press, July 20, 2008

La Paz, Bolivia - Bolivia's president is seeking to nationalize two of his country's biggest private pension funds, which manage assets worth more than US$3 billion.

A bill that President Evo Morales plans to send to Congress this week would put Bolivian pensions under control of an "autonomous and decentralized" agency, eliminating private funds administered by Swiss group Zurich Financial Services and leading Spanish bank Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria.

Vice President Alvaro Garcia on Sunday said the plan would protect existing accounts while creating a fund for self-employed workers, who comprise the majority of Bolivia's work force.

The two private funds now manage savings for about 1 million Bolivians, or 10 percent of the poor country's population.

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