Italian pension plan uptake 'slow' in 2003 - IAMA

ITALY- The number of Italian workers joining a personal pension scheme went up by 40% in 2003 while membership of the country’s open-ended occupational pension plans rose more slowly over the year by around 8%, according to consultant IAMA.

IAMA says that personal pension funds (PIPs), introduced three years ago, have now attracted a total of 540,000 investors (150,000 Italians joined a PIP in 2003 against 180,00 joiners in 2002) while open pension funds, launched six years ago, now have a total of 366,000 members (28,000 joined in 2003 – just over half the figure of 50,000 joiners in 2002).

In its report ’Pension market Trends 2003’, the Milan-based consulting firm said overall market growth in 2003 had been “very slow” compared to previous years.

It also pointed out that only two million of a potential 1.8 million subscribers had so far joined some form of Italian pension plan.

The volume of contributions for Italian open funds, which ended the year with assets worth 1,7 billion euros, exceeded 465 million euros in 2003 - a 4% growth. PIPs premium collections were up 10% with a value of one billion euro, IAMA also recorded.

Although banks have “established themselves as the undisputed leaders of the open pension fund market”, the consulting firm said they had lost market share to other “distribution channels”.
The banks attracted 70% of new members in 2003, ten per cent less than the previous year.

“The most important players did not succeed in producing again the numbers of the past years”, IAMA said.

Financial advisors, the consulting firm added: “continued to distance themselves from the open pension fund market, preferring PIPs.”

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