EUROPE - A group of Europe’s leading financial services executives have said pension reform is a key focus for the completion of the single European market.

"In Europe, our efforts focus on the completion of a single market, which must include: harmonization of regulation and supervision, harmonization of consumer protection regimes, creation of a single capital market and pension reform," said the European Financial Services Round Table in a joint statement with its US counterpart, the Financial Services Roundtable.

The European body was set up in 2001 to "promote the completion of the single market in financial services and to provide a strong industry voice". It is chaired by Aviva chairman Pehr Gyllenhammar and comprises 17 top executives of European banks and insurance companies.

The joint statement said “barriers to market access, non-tariff barriers and balkanized regulatory regimes both in the EU and in the United States continue to restrict the delivery of financial products".

"In many instances these regimes artificially reduce competition to the detriment of consumers." The two groups recent met in Washington and agreed to cooperate to eliminate barriers to the provision of financial services.

They said: "We encourage the United States and European Union to achieve mutual recognition of corporate governance regimes so as to eliminate the extraterritorial impacts of the respective approaches."

"Liberalisation of financial services encourages product innovation and greater choice for consumers," Gyllenhammar said. "To achieve this, substantial changes are needed in the legal and regulatory frameworks on both sides of the Atlantic.

EFR members:
Pehr Gyllenhammar - Aviva
Nikolaus von Bomhard - Munich Re
Rolf-E Breuer - Deutsche Bank
Henri de Castries - AXA
Hans Dalborg - Nordea
Michael Diekmann - Allianz AG
Francisco González Rodríguez - BBVA
Rijkman Groenink - ABN-AMRO
Ewald Kist - ING Group
Jean Laurent - Crédit Agricole.
Sir George Mathewson - RBS
Sir Peter Middleton - Barclays Bank
Michel Pébereau - BNP Paribas
Giovanni Perissinotto - Generali
Alessandro Profumo - UniCredito
Anton van Rossum - Fortis
Donald Shepard - AEGON