EUROPE - The European Commission (EC) has appointed Hewitt Associates to conduct a feasibility study on the requirements for establishing a pan-European pension fund for researchers.

The EC issued a report In May 2008 highlighting four key areas which it believed to make Europe more attractive to researchers than the US or Japan, including proposals to encourage companies to open pan-European pension schemes to allow manoeuvrability for mobile workers. (See earlier IPE article: EC eyes pan-European pensions for 'researchers')

As the report noted, researchers tend to rely on supplementary pension provision, but the acquisition, preservation and transfer of these pension rights are "often not well suited for mobile workers such as researchers, said the EC.

The EC therefore initiated a search in October 2008 for a contractor to carry out a feasibility study on the possibility of developing pan-European pensions for these workers.

(See earlier IPE article: EC to test feasibility of pan-EU researchers' pension)

Hewitt Associates, based in Brussels, was awarded the €285,000 contract out of seven applicants on the basis of quality, legal requirements, management of the study and resources.

The firm will now be required to "study the legal, technical, and financial requirements for setting up a pan-European pension fund for EU researchers" within existing legislation under the second pillar of pension provision such as the EU Directive on the activities of Institutions for Occupational Retirement Provision (IORP).

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