A law allowing Chileans to withdraw up to 10 percent of the money accumulated in their mandated individual retirement accounts took effect Thursday with expectations that amid the economic fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic, as much as $20 billion could be pulled out of the funds.

Under the pension system instituted during the 1973-1990 Pinochet dictatorship, workers see 10 percent of their gross monthly earnings withheld and deposited into accounts managed by a group of seven private companies licensed as pension fund administrators (PFAs).