ITALY – A top-official for the Italian welfare ministry said that the government will be ready to present new rules for pension-savings investments by the first half of May.

Speculations about the time scale for regulation of the investment of workers severance pay or Tfr in pension funds , aimed at boosting the second pillar, has been ended by welfare undersecretary Alberto Brambilla..

He said the cabinet is expected to have the regulations ready for the social partners by May 12. The cabinet would subsequently consider the changes to the rules.

Brambilla’s personal secretary, Vincenzo de Velli, confirmed to IPE that the under secretary has forecasted that the whole process would end by May 15, as reported by the Italian press.

A spokesman for national trade union Uil, which represents with Cisl and Cgil the majoirity of workers, said no offical summon has yet arrived but added: “ If the minister calls we will be ready.”

He pointed out that the social partners have already made their position clear with a document highlighting what they consider crucial points.

The new regulation in question is required by the pension reform passed last July, which settled that workers should invest their Tfr in pension funds, rather than having it as a lump sum at the end of their career.

The Tfr is a business valued at about €14bn and is the bedrock of the pension reform. The road to regulation however has been so far rocky and full of delays. The last episode being a cabinet reshuffle, which has confirmed Brambilla and Minister Roberto Maroni, both of the Northern League party, to the welfare ministry.

One of the key issues for implementation of the Trf investment rules is clarifying which public agency is to oversee transparency. The reform appoints pension regulator Covip as sole regulator.

This law, however potentially clashes with a bill which is currently being examined by the senate, and has been already approved by the lower chamber of parliament.

The bill which aims at implementing higher degree of investment transparency, strips Covip of the supervision over insurance, which is a pension saving option.

Brambilla has commented that the issue must be clarified in favour of Covip with changes to the saving bill. He said that amendments are ready.

ANIA, the insurers’ association in the meantime has issued a statement to support the role of Covip as sole regulator.

The statement, signed by director Giampaolo Galli says:“ The association maintains that it completely agrees that the bill of savings must be emended to restore supervision powers to Covip” Covip was not available for comment.

Brambilla said that the period of six months given to workers to decide how to invest their Tfr will start in September and not in July, as originally intended. Last week Minister Maroni had said that it was “ technically possible” to uphold the July deadline