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IPE special report May 2018

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European Commission delves deeper into pension transfer rights

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  • The European Commission

The European Commission, as part of its drive to allow European Union workers to move freely within the union, has asked the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) for advice and information on the transferability of supplementary pension rights. 

Michel Servoz, director-general of the Commission’s employment, social affairs and inclusion directorate, wrote to EIOPA chair Gabriel Bernardino to find out about the current state of affairs for transfers of acquired supplementary pension rights between occupational pension schemes in different member states.

The information was to cover transfers within the country, as well as cross-border transfers, he said, suggesting EIOPA could flag good practices related to transfers. 

EIOPA was also asked for quantitative data on transfers of pension assets within the countries and across borders, if available. 

In addition to this, Servoz asked the authority to pinpoint the main obstacles that were affecting – or preventing – transfers, both within countries and across borders. 

In his letter, Servoz said the Commission, the European Parliament and the Council had been actively trying to ease worker mobility in the EU.

A key step in this is the “Directive on minimum requirements for enhancing worker mobility by improving the acquisition and preservation of supplementary pension rights”, he said. 

The directive was adopted by the European Parliament and the Council two months ago, he said, adding that it did not involve minimum requirements on the transferability of these pension rights. 

“Nevertheless, pension transferability remains an important aspect of worker mobility, and member states are encouraged to improve the transferability of vested pension rights,” he said. 

Servoz welcomed EIOPA’s planned report on good practices on portability of occupational pension rights, and his request for advice on the topic was within the scope of that work, he said. 

“The objective is to inform possible future debates on the transferability of supplementary pension rights,” he said.

Servoz said the Commission wanted EIOPA’s findings by the middle of 2015.

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