The UK's National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) believes that a single market for pension in Europe is possible with a move to a Swiss style system of pensions provision.
The NAPF put forward an ambitious reform programme in its Pensions Green paper response published last month.
It advocates the introduction of a guaranteed level of state benefit to a maximum of 50% of national average earnings for low earners and a mandatory second pillar providing 75% of final earnings. Companies and groups providing adequate second pillar support could opt out of the latter. The NAPF suggests a timetable for members states of 10 to 20 years.
This type of system has been operational in Switzerland for the last ten years and has been successful in ensuring full coverage," says the paper. In addition all countries should operate under a mutually recognised system of national regulation allowing investment on a prudent principle that places no obstacles to foreign investment. That prudence should be provided by international diversification.
Loss of domestic pension investment of 20 to 30% will be compensated by increased overseas investment flows into Europe's more efficient capital markets, the paper adds.
The association stressed that is does not want the initiative to fall by the wayside. Ray Martin, the NAPF International Standing Group chairman said: "We have put forward a workable framework, but urge the Commission not to let these submissions sit on a shelf to gather dust."
On the divisive issue of insurance requirements, the NAPF says that it sees no reason for a different treatment of insurers in the 2nd pillar except where a guarantee of capital or future return is given."