EUROPE - The European insurance association has called for a "level playing field" for all operators in the second and third pillars of the pension system.

The Comité Européen des Assurances called on European Union policy makers to "guarantee fair competition and a level playing field amongst all operators n the second or third pillar of the pension field".

The comments come in a new 15-page CEA report 'Pensions for an Ageing Society: Choices and Solutions'.

The CEA is calling for greater action to promote voluntary saving in funded pensions.

"Life insurers, who offer occupational pension schemes and individual pensions and are experts in areas such as longevity risk and asset-liability management, can contribute to adequate income protection in old age," CEA director general Daniel Schanté said.

But the association - which represents national insurance associations - says a complete switch to funded pension provision would be "neither feasible nor desirable".

"Many actions have already been undertaken, but more needs to and can be done to foster saving via private pensions by means of providing accurate and easily understood information, intensifying financial education, providing fiscal incentives and ensuring balanced consumer protection," it says.

"We suggest that the EU acts as a forum to monitor the adequacy and sustainability of pensions and share best practice examples of dealing with ageing populations and promoting funded pensions," Schanté said.