EUROPE - The European asset management industry has called for the creation of a standardised pension product across Europe in order to boost personal savings.
In a report published by the European Fund and Asset Management Association (EFAMA), 23 chief executives of European asset management firms, investment consultancies and investor associations recommended European governments introduce compulsory long-term savings schemes organised in co-operation with employer and industry support.
This would give all product providers "equal access to suitable and efficient Officially Certified European Retirement Plans in order to foster competition for the best investor solutions," the report said.
EFAMA president Jean-Baptiste de Franssu said: "Pension solutions in Europe, where demographic challenges are forcing governments to act, are fragmented and often inadequate and we in the industry have a key role to play in building an EU pensions framework in partnership with others who share the responsibility of safeguarding Europe's economic future."
He added: "With the UCITS vehicle we already have one of the most robust underlying investment products for retirement plans, but the successful development of long-term savings and private retirement products also relies on the quality of distribution, educating investors about the optimum solutions, and on knowing client needs better."
According to the report, during the crisis, some pension funds came under pressure and made investment decisions which proved to be counterproductive for the achievement of their long-term objectives.
"Given the tough financial situation many of their sponsors are in, it is questionable whether all the funds can deliver fully on their promise. This could leave investors with less money than expected at retirement," the report said.
The United Kingdom has already introduced a mandatory defined contribution scheme which will guarantee universal pension coverage to all UK workers.
The scheme, recently renamed National Employment Savings Trust, will come into effect in 2012.
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