The number of active cross-border IORPs has risen to 76 in 2015, but money managed by the entities still only accounts for a fraction of Europe’s €3.6trn in pension assets.
A report by the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) found that while the number of active schemes increased by one to 76, the number of authorised cross-border funds increased by two over the last year.
According to the supervisor’s 2015 market development report, four funds withdrew from the cross-border market over the last year, while six new funds registered their activity, resulting in the net increase of two to 88.
Germany was the largest single market for cross-border funds, with four entities responsible for more than half of the €53.8bn in cross-border assets.
The UK, with €12.3bn in cross-border funds, came a distant second to Germany’s €27.8bn.
Unlike Germany, where the money is concentrated in four schemes – including one of Germany’s largest, the €21.5bn banking-sector fund BVV – UK assets are split across 25 funds, including several for publishing houses and the JP Morgan UK Pension Plan.
Ireland accounted for a further fifth, or €11.4bn, in assets, split across several financial sector arrangements, retirement funds for the clergy and the Irish Airlines General Employees Superannuation Scheme.
The remaining €8.6bn in assets are spread across one scheme in Austria – APK Pensionskasse – three in Luxembourg, four in Lichtenstein and a dozen in Belgium, including the pension fund for employees of Euroclear, which announced it was moving from the Netherlands to Belgium in 2013.
While the majority of assets, or €48.2bn, is held within what EIOPA classifies as defined benefit (DB) schemes, €700m is in hybrid funds and a further €4.9bn in defined contribution (DC) funds.
Increasing the appetite for cross-border funds has been one of the stated goals of the revised IORP Directive and was singled out when EU member states agreed to a compromise on the IORP draft last year.
Brian Hayes, an Irish MEP and the rapporteur in charge of steering the directive through the European Parliament, recently branded the existing cross-border framework as a “heritage nightmare”.
Increasing cross-border activity is also one of the goals of EIOPA’s proposed pan-European personal pension framework.