EUROPE – Members of the European Parliament’s economic and monetary affairs committee have voted against proposals to bring UCITS investment funds within the scope of the directive on occupational pension funds.

The proposals had been brought by Austrian MEP Othmar Karas, who was the original parliamentary ‘rapporteur’ for the Institutions for Occupational Retirement Provision directive.

“Yes, both amendments of Mr. Karas concerning UCITS/pension funds, i.e. 17 and 25, were voted down,” said an official at the Parliament. There was a clear majority against the proposals, the person said.

Karas had said “the market for occupational pension provision should be expanded and made more competitive”.

“To this end, undertakings such as UCITS management companies could be brought with the scope of Directive 2003/41/EC.”

European investment fund association EFAMA has repeatedly complained about the exclusion of UCITS from the directive. At one point it even considered taking legal action on the matter.

EFAMA secretary general Steffen Matthias said the trade body had been very happy that the amendment had been tabled in the first place.

“This is exactly what we always asked for – a level playing field,” he told IPE. Although he was disappointed with the vote, he added it was important that Karas had reminded the public and parliament about the issue. And he noted that the directive contains a review clause. “Now we will follow the discussion of course,” he said.

Karas’ proposal was among a series of amendments to a report on asset management compiled by German MEP Wolf Klinz.

The IORP directive, commonly known as the pension fund directive, came into force in September last year.

“UCITS are an appropriate and promising instrument for a sustainable retirement pension system,” Karas had said in his amendment.

Other proposals voted on included closer regulatory cooperation and real estate investment trusts.