The European Commission has called for more to be done to highlight the economic benefits of private retirement savings and argued that the overhaul of the IORP Directive is needed to push the pensions sector toward long-term investments.

Social affairs commissioner Marianne Thyssen, speaking at the World Pension Summit in the Hague, called on governments and social partners to do more to promote private pension savings.

She admitted the current low-interest-rate environment was proving difficult for investors and noted that governments only had a limited ability to offer tax incentives in a time of fiscal constraint.

“Nevertheless, we must promote supplementary savings,” Thyssen said. “Even with the limited savings capacity of households, efforts must be stepped up to clearly demonstrate the economic benefits of complementary retirement savings.”

The commissioner also backed the main elements of the revised IORP Directive, noting the need to ensure pension funds had “sound” risk management processes in place and were run by “capable” people – the latter likely a recognition by the Commission that its initial draft, with its focus on professionals, risked alienating member states that made use of lay trustees.

Thyssen also challenged pension funds to live up to the spirit of the revised Directive, arguing that funds needed to “invest more long term” and build cross-border activities.

“In short, the proposed directive aims to establish a modern regulatory framework,” she said.

She also praised the work undertaken to develop a Europe-wide pension tracking service.

TTYPE, which published an initial report in early 2015, is currently examining how to proceed with the development of a viable business plan for the project.

Thyssen hinted that there could be further Commission involvement in launching TTYPE.

“We are investigating possibilities to help the pension industry build on this momentum to roll out a fully fledged cross‑border pension tracking service,” she said.