EUROPE – The European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) has entered into a consultation process with the pensions industry on the creation of a single market for personal pension products.  

Stakeholders will have until 16 August to provide their feedback on a possible definition of 'personal pension', a potential cross-border framework regime – which would create a uniform European system as an alternative to the different national regimes and consumer protection – and consumer protection.

Once the consultation process is complete, the Frankfurt-based authority will provide advice to the European Commission on legislative changes for prudential law and consumer protection measures that currently hinder the launch of such a single market.

To achieve that goal, the authority said it would phase-in its work, starting by the discussion paper launched yesterday.

EIOPA will then draft a preliminary report outlining the issues and options in early 2014.

Brussels is expected to issue a detailed call for advice to EIOPA, with a response deadline set for 2015, before the authority finally drafts its final advice to the Commission.

EIOPA's on behalf of the Commission follows on from the White Paper on Pensions released in February last year, which emphasised the single market as a "key instrument to support pension adequacy and fiscal sustainability".

The paper added: "There is untapped potential to realise further efficiency gains through scale economies, risk diversification and innovation."

The work on personal pension products comes in parallel with a separate Commission initiative to improve consumer protection in the area of third-pillar retirement products.

This week, group comprising pension providers in Denmark, Finland and the Netherlands announced it had been selected by Brussels to explore the possibility of building a pan-European pensions registry.

A spokesman at Danish pension fund PKA told IPE: "In the future, many more European citizens will work cross-border during a lifetime – and pension rights may be difficult to keep track of.

"An online service creating such an overview is definitely not an easy thing to establish, but it's crucial to employees working part of their life in different countries and maybe 'leaving' pension rights behind."