The head of the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) has proposed an expansion of the organisation's mandate and called for the creation of an "EU retirement savings product".
Speaking at EIOPA's annual conference in Frankfurt this morning, Gabriel Bernardino (pictured) said the Europe-wide regulator's remit should be expanded to cover ‘third pillar', or private pensions.
He said this was necessary to ensure a "sufficient level of regulation and supervision of personal pensions"and help the European Union drive for adequate, safe and sustainable pensions in member states.
"There are merits in developing an EU-wide framework for the activities and supervision of individual retirement savings, containing both prudential and consumer protection measures," he said.
"Improving consumer information and protection is necessary to enhance citizens' confidence in financial products for retirement savings."
In this context, Bernardino said EIOPA should explore the development of an "EU retirement savings product".
He explained: "This product could be developed to finance individual or collective DC plans and should clearly differentiate from other types of investment products by being focused on the long-term nature of their objective - retirement savings - avoiding the traps of the short-term horizon."
He said such a product would be based on a simple framework with reduced cost structures and robust and modern risk management tools.
It should rely on clear and transparent governance structures and provide full transparency to its members and beneficiaries, he added.
Bernardino said: "An EU certification scheme could give to EU citizens a certainty in the quality of all marketed ‘EU retirement savings products'.
"These products could also play an important role in the EU economy by assuring a focus on long-term investments and, thus, fostering the sustainable growth."
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