EUROPE - European investment fund association EFAMA has called for the European Commission to make “significant changes” to the occupational pensions directive to help facilitate a single European market for investment management.

“The Commission must pave the way towards a regulatory framework enabling the industry to remain competitive and to exploit its potential to the full, which would require significant changes to the current UCITS directive and to the pensions directive,” EFAMA said.

And its said the Commission and the Committee of European Securities Regulators, CESR, must make the best of existing regulation on UCTS and the MiFID services directive.

The creation of a real single market in occupational pensions was one of the “forgotten issues” in the Commission’s recent Green Paper on asset management, EFAMA reckons.

The association said it believes fund managers should be allowed to operate and propose pension schemes directly.

“As a move towards defined contribution pension schemes with increasing importance of asset management is unavoidable, we indeed believe that fund managers with their long tradition of high transparency are well placed to contribute to bridge the pension funding not only by offering investment funds but also by operating directly as institutions proposing and operating pension schemes,” EFAMA stated in its response to the Green Paper.

“Their distinctive experience in product design, asset allocation and investor services make them ideal providers in both the second and third pillar pension markets.”

EFAMA said asset managers, by which it means UCITS investment fund providers, would be well placed “to offer flexible and portable pension schemes based on personal retirement accounts” Individuals could such accounts use to invest in a range of savings instruments.

It said it regrets that the directive on Institutions for Occupational Retirement Provision (the pensions directive) limits the access to the occupational pension market to traditional pension funds and life-insurance companies, excluding investment managers and other institutions such as investment firms and banks.