Italian association ponders lack of 2nd-pillar

ITALY – The Italian association of pension funds, Assoprevidenza, says the limited take-up of occupational pensions in Italy is due to the lack of a pension fund for public employees.

The association, the Associazione Italiana per la Previdenza Complementare, organised a conference to discuss the introduction of the first national pension fund schemes for the public sector, so far excluded from the second pillar.

The association said in a statement: “The limited take-up rate is certainly due to the prolonged absence of a component as influential as the public employees.”

“In the wake of the introduction of the first national pension schemes dedicated to sectors of the public administration, complexities of the adhesion to such funds and their roles cannot be underestimated,” the association said.

Attention at the meeting focused on the experience of the semi-autonomous region of Trentino Alto Adige.

The regional pension scheme, PensPlan, includes 30,000 of the region’s employees - but central government employees have been barred from the scheme, explained Thomas Walder of Centrum PensPlan.

Public employees, Assoprevidenza said, could not join a pension scheme because the indemnity they receive at the end of their career, the ‘liquidazione’, was not formally known to the law in the same way as the indemnity that private employees receive, ‘Trattamento di fine lavoro’ or TFR, which is the main component of the second pillar.

The formal difference between the two virtually identical indemnities has been overcome in some cases.

State schools teachers, an Assoprevidenza official said, formed their own pension scheme, Espero, setting a precedent for other departments in the public sector to set up schemes once the trade unions and the state agree on the terms.

“I think within a year the whole public sector or a good part of it should have devised its own scheme,” the official said.

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