EUROPE - The Association of the Luxembourg Fund Industry (ALFI) has thrown its weight behind the creation of Officially Certified European Retirement Plans backed by UCITS investment funds.

In March, a think-tank report commissioned by the European Fund and Asset Management Association (EFAMA) and submitted to European authorities called for the introduction of a personal retirement plan called the Officially Certified European Retirement Plan (OCERP), with consistent certification standards across Europe.

ALFI - a member of EFAMA - said it supported the conclusions of this report and recommended backing up OCERPs with internationally recognised, EU-regulated UCITS investment funds.

Claude Kremer, chairman at ALFI, conceded the creation of a pan-European retirement plan was an ambitious goal.

"But the example of UCITS shows that, with will and perseverance, the EU can be a world leader in providing investors with high-quality, safe solutions to their savings needs," he said.

"Investment funds are a key tool to address the pension challenge, given their ability to deliver long-term performance that preserves the real value of individuals' retirement savings."

Kremer said UCITS already offered responses to pensions needs — either as "content" for pension-fund or life-insurance wrappers, or as pension products in their own right.

Target date funds, for example, are increasingly widespread in the US and may also become popular in Europe, he added.