Rainer Riess, Director General, Federation of European Securities Exchanges
Nathalie Berger, Head of Unit Insurance and Pensions, DG FISMA, European Commission
Bernard Delbecque, Director of Economics & Research, EFAMA
Guillaume Prache, Managing Director, Better Finance (The European Federation of Investors and Financial Users)
This roundtable looked at the potential way forward for a successful Pan European Pension Product (PEPP) framework and what needs to be done for this initiative to contribute to the Capital Markets Union.
An EU-wide PEPP could channel funds to long term investments, contribute to meeting the challenges of an ageing Europe and increase the likelihood of high returns for citizens.
Pension products should be simple and transparent on costs and fees.
‘Coalition of the willing’ needed to convince member states of the benefits of an EU-wide PEPP.
Rainer Riess, Director General of the Federation of European Securities Exchanges, described the pan-European Personal Pension Product (PEPP) initiative as the “perfect instrument to change [Europe’s] vision on capital markets”.
Nathalie Berger, Head of Unit Insurance and Pensions with the European Commission’s DG Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union (DG FISMA), said that there had been considerable support for the PEPP initiative in a public consultation as long as it were “reasonable, simple and cost-effective”. She argued that a PEPP would “channel funds to long term investments, contribute to facing the challenges of an ageing Europe and get people to save more for retirement”. She described it “as an enabling tool that will dynamise the market” and said that it was neither an attempt at a major harmonising action nor an attempt to modify national models of occupational pension funds.
Key questions include: What should be in a statute and what left to national law? How can full portability of the product be guaranteed? How closed/open should the product be? By whom can it be sold and how should it be sold? How can a sufficient level of consumer protection be ensured? Should there be a system of annuities or a lump sum payment or should that be left to the market?
Bernard Delbecque, Senior Director of Economics & Research at the European Fund and Asset Management Association (EFAMA), argued that a PEPP should be an integral part of the Capital Markets Union. He sees the “excessive amount held in bank deposits” as “a big drawback in savings in the EU” and argued that “a PEPP is needed so that EU savings are put to better use for long term investment projects.”
Guillaume Prache, the Managing Director of Better Finance, set out key factors that will ensure that the PEPP is a success including a simple cost-effective investment default option without needing a financial advisor; investor protection rules; conduct of business rules at the point of sale and a PEPP for all and not only small savers.
Ms Berger also said that the Commission would need support to persuade EU member states that a PEPP does not pose a threat to their markets. Mr Delbecque suggested that the Commission should play a key role in highlighting the benefits of the PEPP as it is independent and can talk to member states, adding that there was a need for a ‘coalition of the willing’ to work on it together and to convince member states.