|AEIP Conference - Pension Funds and EU Policies|
Brussels, 27 April 2011, the AEIP conference on “Pension Funds and EU Policies” brought together more then 60 participants, as well as speakers from the European Institutions and members of AEIP. Coming from France, Finland, Belgium, Liechtenstein, the Netherlands and Germany, the members of AEIP and the European officials were able to deepen the policymaker-stakeholder relationship on the major issues surrounding pension systems. Made possible through the financial support of Lane, Clark & Peacock, this conference was divided into four sections: Ongoing European Works & Positions on Pension Policies; Pension Funds and Mobility of Workers in Europe; Occupational Pension Security Schemes; and Solidarity and the Role of the Social Partners.
In accordance with the AEIP response to the Green Paper: ‘Towards adequate, sustainable and safe European pension system,’ Mr. Ralf Jacob Head of Unit on Active Ageing, Pensions, Healthcare and Social Services of DG Employment and Social Affairs within the European Commission (EC), agreed that the use of the Open Method of Coordination (OMC) must be strengthened and the EC must enforce Directive 2002/74/EC in which occupational pensions are protected by the Member States in the case of insolvency of the employer. He also stated that the solution to many of the increasing pension problems is Active Ageing and commended the work of AEIP within the NGO stakeholder coalition for the European Year on Active Aging and Solidarity between Generations. In addition, Mr. Petru Sorin Dandea, Rapporteur on the Green Paper for the EESC, MEP Frederic Daerden, Mr. Jacob and AEIP all agreed that the best way to achieve adequacy and sustainability for pension systems is to raise the efficient retirement age by encouraging longer employment and by aiming for full employment.
Regarding the theme of cross-border activity, Ms. Teresa Turner, Senior Pension Expert from the European Insurance and Occupational Pension Authority (EIOPA) explained that EIOPA would like to increase the number of cross-border schemes by minimizing the current legal uncertainty. In addition, Mr. Henk Becquaert, Member of the Management Committee for Financial services and Markets Authority (FSMA), outlined that the other major problem for cross-border schemes are the requirements to be fully funded, which in most cases, is never fully achieved by pension schemes. However, Mr. Riemen, Director of VB explained the importance of social dialogue and the social partners and thus questioned the real need for cross-border schemes from a practical perspective. The representative from France, Mr. Yves Le Nail, Director within the Humanis Group, also brought attention to the risk of social dumping which could occur if European legislation does not create a coherent set of regulations.
Occupational Pension Security Schemes and the works of AEIP on this topic were presented by Laura Crescentini of Assoprevidenza. During her presentation she outlined that we have to take account of the specificities of Pension Funds, notably that they are non-profit with no access to financial market; they are compulsory having the promise of future contributions; they are long-term investments allowing for longer recovery periods; and many are managed in a paritarian way. Following the presentation of Ms. Crescentini, Ms. Hillevi Mannonen from Ilmarinen in the Finland presented a case study showing a good example of how a pension security scheme on paritarian funds can work guarantee the funds are solvent. In Finnish case this is especially true due to solidarity among the institutions and the risked based approach.
With regards to portability, the EC stated that it is debating portability for occupational pension schemes, and how regulation 883/04 can be strengthened to include the mandatory funded pension schemes beginning with the public sector occupational pension schemes. Responding to this idea, Ms. Ingrid Fraedrich from SOKA-BAU, was able to explain and warn about the potential negative effects portability could have on the German system.
In conclusion, this conference outlined the importance that solidarity, including intergenerational solidarity, diversification, social dialogue, a healthy active population and paritarian management in creating an adequate and sustainable pension system. These points were agreed upon by the pension experts and the policy makers. In addition, this conference showed that in the future of pensions many debates will need to take place between the stakeholders and policy makers. This is especially true when it comes to topics of solvency and portability.
To download the Presentations in PDF please click on the title below.
01. Francesco Briganti - AEIP
02. Peter Bastiaens - LCP
03. Teresa Turner - EIOPA
04. Othmar Walser - Trianon
05. Henk Becquaert - FSMA
06. Ingrid Fraedrich - SOKA BAU
07. Laura Crescentini - Assoprevidenza
08. Hillevi Mannonen - Ilmarinen
09. Petru Sorin Dandea - EESC
10. Yves Le Nail - Humanis
11. Gerard Riemen - VB
For more information please contact:
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