The Russian government will today authorise 55 fund managers as eligible to manage individual savings accounts within the state pension fund, according to a report in the Financial Times. From 2004, Russians will be free to choose private fund managers rather than rely on the State. The list has been criticised for effectively authorising as fund managers firms which have no track record in asset management, because the requirement to have a two year track record and an operating licence dating back at least five years were removed. Of the 55 firms on the list, 26 received a licence to trade in the last year, and many are start-ups. Critics say this threatens to undermine the entire pension reform process.