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Press Release

Thursday 16 February 2012

IMA SAYS SUSTAINABILITY OF NATIONAL PENSION SYSTEMS IS PARAMOUNT

Following today’s publication of the European Commission’s White Paper on Pensions and yesterday’s EIOPA (The European Insurance Occupational Pensions Authority) advice to the European Commission on pan-European pension regulations, the Investment Management Association (IMA) said that recognition of the diversity of national pension systems across the EU was essential.

The IMA said that cross-border activity in the European pensions arena remains low, with fewer than 100 cross-border schemes in operation. The European Commission and EIOPA must consider whether extending the scope of the IORP (Institutions for Occupational Retirement Provision) Directive will indeed improve cross-border pensions activity. A one size fits all approach may result in damage to national pension systems.

Commenting, Jonathan Lipkin, Head of Research and Pensions at the IMA, said:

“We welcome EIOPA’s recognition of the need to take into account the existing diversity of national pension systems across the EU, which supports the core goal of sustainability at the heart of the Commission’s pensions agenda.

“However, we are concerned by the White Paper’s reference to maintaining a ‘level playing field with Solvency II’ as an aim of the IORP review. Occupational pension schemes and insurance companies are very different in nature.

“Funded pensions will grow in importance in the coming years. Not only should they help individuals to secure a decent standard of living in retirement but they will act as a key source of the investment capital needed for future economic growth. The asset management industry will have a central role in delivering these two outcomes, and looks forward to working with both national and European authorities to ensure that individuals have access to appropriately diversified investment vehicles.

“Both EIOPA and the European Commission emphasise the importance of better information for individuals.  We strongly agree with this focus. The gradual transition to defined contribution pensions creates significant challenges. There is a need to ensure that information is both readily available and accessible in terms of the language used to communicate what are often difficult concepts.” 

- ENDS -

For further information, please contact:

Clare Murphy-McGreevey, Media Relations Manager, IMA, 020 7831 0898 or 07843 517618
Mona Patel, Head of Communications, IMA, 020 7831 0898 or 07834 089332
Christina Bridge, Press Assistant, IMA, 020 7831 0898

Email: press@investmentuk.org

About the Investment Management Association

The IMA is the trade body for the UK's £4 trillion asset management industry.  The money its members manage is in a wide variety of investment vehicles including authorised investment funds, pension funds and stocks and shares ISAs.  Our purpose is to support and promote a commercially successful and growing UK investment management industry as we seek to improve the financial outcomes for customers - savers and investors.
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