ITALY – Fondo Pensione Complementare per la Famiglia, the potentially huge pension fund launched by an Italian housewives’ organisation, is seeking a fund administrator and custodian.

The closed-end fund, designed for housewives, part-timers and freelancers and promoted by the union DonnEuropee Federdcasalinghe, recently received its operational green light from the pension fund authority COVIP and says proposals for the fund admin and custody mandates will be accepted until mid-April.
The fund will also start searching for money managers later this spring.

Until last year, only those with a regular job and income were allowed to join a pension fund.
However, the 47/2000 decree, issued last year, allows freelancers, housewives and part-time workers to contribute to both closed and open funds.

“Federcasalinghe has 800,000 members, and they expect to have a lot of participants in the fund, but with a small amount of money each. It is very difficult to say at this stage how the fund will develop,” says Claudio Pina, partner at Rome-based Adelaide Consulting.

“They already have 5000 participants for the scheme - in order to get the authorisation you have to have a minimum number of participants – most of these are women, but taken to account that also part-timers can join the fund, some men have signed up as well,” he adds.

Contributions can be made either by cash, without an obligation for regular payments, or by shopping. The participants can ask their banks and credit card companies to tally discounts given by shops and to deposit the cash to their pension fund accounts.

“In the short term they won’t be able to use this possibility because they have to make the finance agreement with banks and some other institutions. But probably by the end of the year it will be possible to pay a contribution by using a credit card as well. We are talking about very small amounts here, but at the moment they get nothing so at least it is something,” says Pina.

Even if individual contributions are small the sheer number of people who can join the fund make the scheme potentially interesting. “At this stage, in Italy there are at least 6m eligible households, but the market is between 6-9m if you take in account those on a part-time contract. Federcasalinghe is confident to have at least the union members to participate in the fund, so really their potential market is significant,” Pina concludes.