EUROPE - The European Commission's Green Paper on pensions could be followed by several additional White Papers, Jung Duk Lichtenberger of the Directorate-General Internal Market & Services has said.
Speaking at the autumn conference of German pension fund association aba, Lichtenberger, who was involved in the drafting of the Green Paper, said he was unsure what the next steps would be.
"Usually, a Green Paper is followed by a White Paper, but because the topics covered are so complicated and far-reaching, it is possible there will be several White Papers," he said.
Lichtenberger also singled out the fact there were currently fewer than 80 cross-border pension funds as negative.
"We currently have a situation where there are 27 distinct rulebooks for controlling, governance, risk management and investment management," he said.
"This is most likely a hurdle for the development of an internal market."
Klaus Stiefermann, head of the working group for occupational pensions at aba, added that cross-border pension structures were not yet a success.
Lichtenberger also highlighted the role played by the German pension insolvency fund PSV as being almost unique in Europe, saying that few had so far followed suit with their own version and that member states should learn from the German example, a sentiment later echoed by Stiefermann.
Stiefermann said the PSV's performance should be emphasised, particularly during European debates, and that it was unacceptable if derogatory remarks were made about fund.
"We must make sure every rule coming our way about insolvency is compatible with our regulations," he said.
"In my opinion, it is not acceptable that we could be left with rules that introduce fundamental changes to an established and successful system."
He also raised the issue of pension portability, calling it a "luxury problem".
He said it was a problem for those employees "who firstly have an occupational pension and secondly would be able to take it with them, as they have the opportunity of changing employers to companies that offer such a thing".