ITALY- The semi-autonomous region Trentino Alto Adige is setting up the first regional pension fund in Italy, in the wake of the changes brought by pension reform.

“Fondo Parcheggio Tfr” would cater for about 30,000 workers such as Trentino’s self-employed professionals and public transport employees, who are not covered by collective contracts and therefore barred from joining a pension fund.

Michael Atzwanger, director general of the Centrum PensPlan which promotes the development of pension schemes on behalf of the region, told IPE: “The pension reform envisages the institution of regional funds and we are already talking to Covip pension_regulator about setting up a regional fund.”

So far Trentino has allowed corporate, category-wide and so-called ‘territorial’ pension funds, but not regional schemes, explained Atzwanger.

“Fondo parcheggio Tfr” would be the solution for employers obliged by the pension reform to pay employees’ severance pay, known as Tfr, to a pension fund but face the lack of a proper pension fund for their workers.

As things are now the only option for such employees is to have their Tfr sent to INPS, the National Social Security Institute for the private sector, which would act as asset manager.

“In order to avoid that all the money are diverted to INPS, we are going to set up Fondo Parcheggio Tfr. This is highly innovative” Atzwanger commented.

Trentino is set to change its law within the next two weeks, then will wait for the pension reform implementation decrees to kick in before applying for Covip’s permission to set up the scheme.

Atzwanger said the new fund could be up and running within six months from getting permission from Covip.

The semi-autonomous region has had a territorial pension system since 2001. It covers employees with the €245m Laborfonds, which is the only one in Italy to include public workers, and the €28m PensPlans Plurifonds for self-employed workers.

Atzwanger explained that while the region had helped set the schemes up, they remained independent. “Now it is about a fund set up and promoted by the region,” he said.