Italian insurer Generali is to set up setting up a cross-border pension fund as part of a new pensions risk transfer offering.

The insurer last week announced the launch of Generali Global Pension (GGP), a new business unit aiming to serve multinational corporations “in their de-risking journey and cross-border plans, providing a full scope of services for both plan sponsors and employees”.

A spokesman for the insurer confirmed to IPE that this would include setting up a cross-border pension fund. No further details were available.

According to a Generali statement, the initiative was in line with its strategic targets to consolidate its global employee benefits operations and accelerate the growth of its asset management business.

The new unit would offer “innovative long-term and ESG asset management expertise”, a “new generation” of defined contribution pensions and selective risk transfer, the statement added.

The unit would address local markets, “catering to specific needs and clients of all sizes”, Generali said.

According to data published earlier this year by EIOPA, at the end of 2016 there were 73 active cross-border pension funds in the EU, 14 of which were active in multiple countries. Assets under management in cross-border funds amounted to €63bn, equal to 1.65% of total IORP assets.

Citing OECD figures, it said the global pension market was increasing annually by 3.5%, offering “high growth potential for investments, innovation and services”.

Jean-Laurent Granier, country manager for France, said: “This is an important step that will bring additional revenue to the group, and unite both local and global entities around pension development.

“GGP has been conceived to address evolving retirement needs. We aim to provide innovative and modern solutions by leveraging Generali’s vast expertise in insurance and investment, thereby creating sustainable offers and value.”

The new business unit is led by Anne de Lanversi. According to her LinkedIn profile, she was previously in charge of an international employee benefits initiative for AXA Group and running pensions and savings sales activities for AXA France. Before AXA she worked at Allianz Global Investors.

She is also a director at Vigeo, the socially responsible investment (SRI) rating agency, and a member of the French finance ministry’s SRI labelling committee and the energy transition labelling committee.