EUROPE - Dutch industry-wide pensions provider Cordares is expanding into the increasingly attractive Italian pensions market, the company confirmed today.

It aims firstly to offer its asset management and consultancy services, as part of wider expansion plans. And it wants to develop a defined contribution product tailored to the Italian market.

Jeroen Tielman, managing director of sales, strategy and innovation at the firm, commented: "We are expanding our horizon outside of the Netherlands, also considering the pan-European view that is being promoted from Brussels."

A year ago Cordares started discussions with Italian parties "in which it transpired that Italy is starting to look at an individual pension system" says Tielman.

Though the Italian market is developing slowly, 2008's implementation of the severance pay transfer, the TFR, is a key to opening up the occupational pensions market, making this a good time to get involved in the Italian industry.

Simultaneously, the Italian life market is already seen as one of the most attractive in Europe for financial services providers, such as Cordares.

Cordares plans to make its first steps in Italy with a conference in Florence on October 17, to gauge which products and services are suitable. It's inviting all the players in the Italian market to a round-table discussion about the innovation of the individual pension product.

"We do not just want to import a Dutch model," says Tielman. "We want to share our experiences in Italy and together with our Italian market partners we want to discover what is suitable for the Italian market."

The company expects that by the end of this year it will have formulated, at least internally, a strategy towards Italy.

Also the firm is making "exploring contacts" in Belgium, Germany and Denmark.