EUROPE – Deutsche Bank’s DWS Investments fund arm says there is potential for mutual funds to play a role in private pension provision.

It noted the lower size of mutual fund assets in Europe compared to the US, where more than a third of fund assets are committed to retirement funds.

It said: “While the USA continues to have the highest per capita fund assets in the world with €20,365 – of which 36% are committed to pension plans – the European figure is comparatively low.”

The comparable figures for Europe range from €8,810 in Italy to €4,518 in Germany.

“These significant differences highlight the existing potential in the mutual fund industry especially in terms of private pension provision,” DWS said in an analysis of international mutual fund markets in 2004.

“The European mutual fund market increased by 10.5% to record levels of over €4.5trn making it the world’s second largest mutual fund market,” it said. It added that global fund assets rose by a currency-adjusted 10% to €11.7trn.

The comments come a day after EFAMA, the European investment fund association, proposed a role for investment funds in retirement provision.

Its idea for European Personal Pension Accounts would embrace funds, as well as insurance and other securities.