The European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) aims to boost the personal pensions market with the imminent launch of a consultation paper setting out a common European approach.

Gabriel Bernardino, the supervisor’s chair, told a recent PensionsEurope conference that the initiative’s aim was to put in place an optional, common EU scheme to provide personal pensions for European workers, particularly those whose careers take them across EU national borders.

Bernardino said the consultation was expected to start on or around 1 July and would run for three months.

“At present, the pension situation is fragmented,” he told delegates. “It is clearly necessary to achieve a more common approach to personal pensions.”

EIOPA is expected to present its findings to the European Commission in February 2016, and a proposal in shape of a Regulation could follow.

The Commission identified personal pensions as one of the areas in need of reform to develop a Capital Markets Union (CMU).

As early as his confirmation hearing last October, Jonathan Hill, commissioner for financial stability, identified the “underdeveloped” personal pensions market as a hurdle to the CMU’s development. 

Bernard Delbecque, director of economics and research at the European Fund and Asset Management Association (EFAMA), said the consultation would be an important step towards achieving a single personal pension system that would augment retirement savings options for the EU citizen.

One major benefit of a harmonised system, he said, would be the potential for scale, creating efficiencies in investment management in particular. 

This, in turn, would achieve higher returns than would be feasible under smaller nationally based equivalents.