BELGIUM – The Belgian government has reiterated its desire to become a pan-European pension fund domicile ahead of a new control law on the matter.

Economy minister Marc Verwilghen told the Belgian Association of Pension Institutions today of the efforts being made by the government to transpose the European occupational pension fund directive into national law.

It’s a bid “to put Belgium into a favourable position as home country for this type of cross border activities”.

“The minister also reflected on the important economic and financial interests which are at stake,” the association said.

Belgium, along with other European Union member states such as Ireland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, are seeking to become pan-European pension fund domiciles under the Institutions for Occupational Retirement Provision directive.

The association’s financial seminar was also told that the preliminary 15% return on investments reported in January was now confirmed.

“The average portfolio structure of a pension fund shows in 2005 a slight increase in investments in real estate, while the share of each of the other asset classes remains stable or slightly decreases,” the body said.

It added: “The funding ratio that includes the safety margin that pension funds hold in excess of their liabilities has continued to increase in 2005. Also, one can observe a gradual shift from defined benefit plans to defined contribution plans.”