Documentaries about people and their worlds

Dirty business with our pension

A documentary by Caroline Nokel

In cooperation with WDR and SWR

"Die Story im Ersten"

TV premiere: 30th November 2020 at 11.05 p.m., Das Erste

Further broadcasts:

02.12.2020, 20:15, SWR

03.12.2020, 10.30, SWR

03.12.2020, 20.15, tagesschau24

04.12.2020, 01.15, SWR

The legal pension alone is no longer enough, they say, which is why most people in this country make additional private provision for old age: with company pensions, Riester pensions or life insurance. The sum is enormous: insurers and pension funds invest a total of around 1,5 trillion euros in old-age provision on the capital market. They use the money to finance companies, banks and real estate, for example.


But what options do consumers have to find out exactly what happens to their money? The documentary shows how opaque these investments are. We investigate and find out: a considerable part of these pension funds goes into climate-damaging projects, fuels real estate speculation or even finances the armaments industry.

The documentary searches for clues and accompanies people who want to find out whether they are involved in what they consider to be dirty business with their Riester or company pension: in lignite mining, in antisocial real estate purchases or in the armaments industry. Stefan Krostitz from Eutin finally wants to know exactly which investment funds are involved in his Riester contract. Britta Kox, whose house is threatened by lignite mining, wants to prevent her husband's company pension from flowing into coal companies. And to tenants from Berlin a tripling of the rent is announced because their rental apartments are supposed to make the pension of Schleswig-Holstein dentists as profitable as possible. What unites them all is the idea of no longer leaving the business of private pension money to insurers and pension funds alone.

Commissioning Editors: Martin Suckow (WDR) and Hanspeter Michel (SWR)

Editor: Kawe Vakil

Camera: Dieter Stürmer

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