ITALY – The complementary pensions sector is growing too slowly, according to the Italian pensions regulator, the Commissione di Vigilanza sui Fondi Pensione (COVIP).

COVIP’s results for 2005 state that some 3m workers making up about 13% of the work force joined complementary pension schemes for an amount totalling €46bn.

This is an 8.7% increase on 2004.

According to media reports, complimentary pension returns accounted for just 3% of GDP versus 70% in the UK and 100% in the US - a figure labelled “modest” by COVIP president Luigi Scimia.

He added: “The legislative uncertainty that has accompanied the sector’s reform and the postponement until 2008 of its implementation have not helped membership growth.”

COVIP also revealed that in the first trimester of 2006, membership of closed funds grew 1.7% compared with a 1.5% growth in open funds.

Following these results, Scimia backed trade union calls for increased growth and development of non-state backed pensions, or ‘previdenza complementare’.

According to COVIP, the pension reforms due to kick off in 2008 should give a welcome boost to the complimentary pensions sector.

Scimia added that any outstanding issues should also be resolved before the reforms are underway.

According to reports, Scimia said: “Within the next few months, all subsidiary pension schemes will have to review their internal structure, their offer strategies in light of the new regulations of the sector.”