The Mutualidad de Procuradores is immersed in a recent growth plan, which for the first time incorporates its openness to other professionals who do not have a social security company, such as economists. The company, in this project, does not contemplate any type of merger, as maintains its new president, Jesús González-Puelles, who also sees an opportunity the Social Security reform proposed by the Government.
A year ago you became president of the Mutual Society, what are your plans?
My objective is that it continues to be an alternative and complement to Social Security for mutualists, covering the retirement, widowhood and disability regime as an individual capitalization.
What we want is, first of all, to fulfill our mission, to offer benefits with the maximum possible profitability and then to grow by making our products and services available to groups that for different reasons have never had a mutual scheme. We want to reach these groups and we have already signed an agreement with the College of Economists of Pontevedra. For now we are not going to compete with any existing mutual fund.
What is the profitability they are achieving on their products?
On average, we have historically maintained 5%. Even in these moments of great economic crisis we are reaping returns of 4.5%. What we think is that we return to the previous levels when activity picks up a bit and uncertainty dissipates, allowing the ECB to stop putting all that huge liquidity that disrupts the market.
“We want to manage part of the public funds of the pension reform”
How many mutualists does the company have and how many does it hope to reach with the opening plan to other professional groups?
We have more than 11,500 mutualists, we are neither the largest company in the sector, but not the smallest either. We are the sixth of about 200 mutuals. Our main idea is to reach all attorneys (14,000) with complementary savings products for their retirement, since part of them are in the self-employed regime (RETA).
We are on the way to achieving it. And then we will try to reach the maximum number of professionals from other groups that do not have mutuality for historical or other reasons.
We are going to start an approach, for example, to the Colleges of Economists, such as the one in Pontevedra, which has 1,600 associates. We are going to do now, starting this October, a direct and personal campaign for them to join our project now, for the extraordinary contributions at the end of the year.
What will the company offer to attract new members?
It is essential to generate savings outside of the Social Security pay-as-you-go scheme, that is, based on individual capitalization. This is the most important thing and therefore we will offer you products so that you can save from the age of 30 as much as you can. We have a minimum quota by law, but from there I invest it in the mutual fund, through periodic or extraordinary contributions at the end of each year. Why is a mutual fund better than a pension plan?
For three reasons: for the charitable nature of a mutual fund and, therefore, I do not need to achieve a return to pay shareholders a dividend; by the type of investment that is made, which is less aggressive than that made by pension plans, but whose profitability is maintained over time (85% of the savings go to fixed income and medium-term obligations); and because mutuality belongs to the mutualists, that is, to the attorneys, and there is a greater link with the profession. As we open ourselves to other groups, the company will also open.
“We aspire to serve all the attorneys in the country”
Some mutuals have recently carried out merger operations. Does the plan contemplate an operation of this type?
Recently, the Mutual Society of the Legal Profession has been merged with that of Engineers. We do not understand this movement for us. Our project is to offer the rest of professionals the alternative of mutuality and not absorb other existing ones, first by size and second, by business structure.
It is our option, I am not saying that the operation of the Lawyers and Engineers is bad. In no case, neither in the short nor in the medium term, do we plan to integrate another company in the sector.
The Government plans to make a modification of the pension system. How do you see the project?
The solution that is being sought at a technical level is to move from the pay-as-you-go method to one of individual capitalization. The scheme seems reasonable to me, since it proposes changing the system for the youngest population by setting a horizon of 2050, that is, for people who are now between 30 and 40 years old.
From the Confederation of Mutual Societies we consider that the Government can reach agreements with whoever it wants both for the general regime and for the self-employed, with large insurers or banks, but we want to fight once the reform in the field of the professionals (lawyers, architects, attorneys, police).
We have shown that we are capable of managing savings, that we are non-profit entities, and we want to occupy that part of the market, because it is our playing field. Nobody, better than us, he knows it. We understand that it would not be acceptable for the Government to ignore the existence of a mutual society and not give us the possibility of managing that part of savings for retirement.
“We will once again achieve a 5% return on the funds as soon as there is a recovery”
That is to say, does the Mutualidad de Procuradores want to participate in the management of the new public pension funds?
Yeah right. We don’t want to go to a macro fund auction. It is not our field and neither could it. But, there is a section of the mechanism where I can comply with the parameters, within the self-employed regime. We are talking with the Ministry to see how the reform, which already exists in other countries, is going to change the saving and retirement paradigm in Spain and is necessary.
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