PensionsEurope Conference 2019: EU must gear up on supplementary pensions
Written by Sunniva Kolostyak
The European Union needs to “shift gears” and increase focus on supplementary pensions, a key issue for Europeans, PensionsEurope said at its own conference in Brussels.
At the conference, PensionsEurope chair Janwillem Bouma said supplementary pensions are essential for the adequacy and sustainability of Europe’s pension systems, as in 2050, there will only be two working-age people for every person above 65.
In the opening speech, Bouma said: “First of all, the EU should support the development and strengthening of supplementary pensions. Pension system design is a matter of national competence, but the EU should act as a facilitator to exchange information and best practices on how to ensure the long-term stability and adequacy of pension systems.”
PensionsEurope, which represents national associations of pension funds, has been in favour of developing third-pillar personal pensions further, as countries with a well-developed multi-pillar pension system see lower levels of old-age poverty and exclusion.
Bouma made a number of suggestions at his conference speech, saying that “legislation should continue to support the role of pension funds in stabilising financial markets”, and that “based on the outcome of the European Commission’s fitness checks of supervisory reporting, [PensionsEurope] expect concrete action from the European Commission after the actions this summer”.
He continued: “Policymakers should avoid unnecessary administrative burden and employ a horizontal approach to drawing legislation. The EU should continue tackling the barriers for cross-border investments, completing the Capital Markets Union (CMU) is crucial in order to complete cross-border investments.
“Particularly the obstacles with the withholding tax procedures pose a major barrier to the CMU, and they should be removed with prompt actions by the commission and member states.”
At the conference, PensionsEurope also launched a brochure on its stance on supplementary pensions, where the association made several recommendations for the European legislature 2019-2024.
PensionsEurope CEO/Secretary General Matti Leppälä commented: "The new European Commission and EU Parliament will have a pivotal role to play in this regard and our brochure includes several policy recommendations. As member of the EC High-Level Group (HLG) on Pension, I hope the EU institutions will carefully consider the recommendations included in this brochure and those that will be tabled by the end of the year by the HLG, a group established to advise the European Commission on matters related to ways of improving the provision, safety through prudential rules, intergenerational balance, adequacy and sustainability of supplementary pensions. It’s now time to act.”