EUROPE - The pension fund deficit crisis is driving a major change in the balance between first, second and third pillar pensions, which could potentially open the market to private pension providers in Europe, according to Research and Markets Limited's latest European Pensions report.
The research company said the pensions market in Europe is at a point of unprecedented change, primarily due to aging populations putting pressure on funding, which has created opportunities for competitors.
The report found the UK is the largest private pensions market in Western Europe by assets followed by the Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland, where occupational or second pillar schemes cover nearly the whole workforce.
Research and Markets said the Italian pension market will offer the strongest growth levels in Europe for 2003 - 2008, but it is the combination of size and strong growth in the German market that is likely to be most attractive to competitors.
Switzerland was listed in the key findings as the country with the highest level of private pension assets per working person in Europe, at e77,000 per working person. The finding was attributed to its wealthy population and a generous second pillar system covering the majority of the workforce.
The report covered pension funds in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.
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