BELGIUM – The Federation Europeenne des Fonds et Societes d’Investissement (Fefsi), the pan-European funds trade association, is to lobby the European Commission and Parliament to gain equal treatment for collective investment schemes with life and pension vehicles to provide retirement provision. Fefsi is also expected to finish its high-level standards for the industry next month, in a bid to boost its integrity after the recent scandals.

Steffen Matthias, secretary general of Fefsi, said it would work on the new members of the European Parliament and Commission after the summer to try and gain amendments to the Pensions Directive so there would be equal transparency on distribution fees between funds, life insurance and pensions. He said: “The directive does not provide a single market with providers as life insurers can ring-fence their products as pensions vehicles rather have separate pension funds and life products. We will ask for the same for investment funds, as funds can be pension vehicles as well.”

He said this was a key priority of the Federation, which re-elected Wolfgang Mansfeld and John Fitzpatrick as president and vice-president, respectively, on Friday. Matthias said Fefsi’s other priorities were to encourage corporate membership, alongside its existing membership of national trade associations, although none had yet joined. But he said the planned merger with the fund companies’ European trade association, the European Asset Management Association (Eama) was still delayed and in negotiations.

Next month, he said Fefsi would probably release its high-level, principle standards for the European industry to improve its integrity. The standards have been bogged down over the level of detail it will require from members, given the different regulations in each member state. Other areas of negotiation are to work with the Commission in removing tax discrimination in EU member states between domestic and cross-border funds, with France and Belgium the main targets; and lobby the International Accounting Standards to ease fund mergers.

Separately, at the AGM, Turkey’s investment fund association, KYD, joined Fefsi as its 23rd member.