Fund industry lobbies for EU-wide pension product

Mon Mar 22, 2010 12:01am GMT

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* Recommendations to EC aimed at boosting long-term savings

* New EU-wide pension product to raise retirement incomes

* States should introduce compulsory pension schemes

LONDON, March 22 (Reuters) - The European funds industry has urged legislators to introduce a Europe-wide pension product to encourage long-term savings.

In a report published on Monday, the European Fund and Asset Management Association (Efama) called on the European Commission (EC) to work towards boosting retirement incomes in the region, noting that it's timely to do so now, as the fund industry is at a crossroads following the financial crisis.

"Europe cannot go on the way long-term savings are today. We need some stability and long-term perspective," Jean-Baptiste de Franssu, president of Efama, told reporters at a briefing ahead of the report launch.

The association, which is an umbrella body for the funds industry, said European Union (EU) domiciled mutual funds could be at the heart of any Europe-wide scheme.

Efama's recommendations to the EU's executive suggest introducing simplified rules on distributing investment products and calls on governments to introduce compulsory long-term savings schemes to improve retirement assets.

"There has to be more involvement from governments and national institutions. Introducing compulsory savings schemes is a viable way to enforce regular personal contributions," said de Franssu.

He noted that the UK is planning to launch such a scheme from 2012, through automatic enrolment with an opt-out clause for workers with no pension cover.

Efama's recommendations were based on interviews with 23 CEOs from some of Europe's largest asset management firms, pension funds, investment consultants and investor associations.

The association said the industry saw a "clear need" for personal retirement plans, with unified standards across Europe. (Reporting by Raji Menon, Editing by Sharon Lindores)

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