EUROPE - A common framework should be applied to pension liability and risk calculation, according to Gabriel Bernadino. chairman of the Committee European Insurance and Occupations Pensions Supervisors (CEIOPS).

He was speaking at the European Commission’s forum on its pensions Green Paper in Brussels earlier today.

Attendees, in contrast, raised numerous reasons as to why harmonisation of pensions schemes across Europe faces insuperable difficulties.

Bernadino set the opposite tone, starting with a call for a common financial framework to calculate liabilities. He then went on to recommend a common framework for risk, for which at present, he said, there is a wide variety of different methods.  “We also need a clear disclosure of risk embedded in a pension system,” Bernadino said.

The CEIOPS chair went on to call for “a better communication with pensioners on how risk sharing applies to their plans”. In other words, he added, “risk sharing needs to be explained”. He added that there is no single way to achieve this.

“It is about time that we achieve some common understanding in different counties. The different framework functions need to be ‘hammered together”.

The session was chaired by Jonathan Faull, the new director general of the Commission’s Internal Market directorate. Faull emphasised the need for safety and transparency in order to combat current general lack of confidence in pension schemes. “Safety costs,” he told the conference.