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Tremonti mulls pension regulation revamp

ITALY - Finance and economy minister Giulio Tremonti has floated the idea of a “super authority” that would handle pension and other market regulation.

Pension regulator Covip called the idea “opportune”.

Speaking in Parliament, Tremonti said the body would regulate pensions, insurance and financial markets and replace market regulator Consob, the Commissione Nazionale per le Societa’ e la Borsa.

The suggestions came as the lower chamber of the parliament, the Camera dei Deputati, launched an enquiry into the relationship between corporate governance, the safeguarding of investments and the financial market.

The probe will seek comments from the presidents of Consob – and Covip, the Commissione di Vigilanza dei Fondi Pensione.

A reinforcement of “supervision powers would be opportune”, said Ambrogio Rinaldi, director of supervision and research at Covip. “It would send out a clear message to savers and increase their confidence.”

If the shake-up took place, Rinaldi said: “There should be a reinforcement of all of Consob’s supervisory authorities, to protect savers.”

But, likening pensions to a “zip between the market and workers” the Covip director stressed that supervision of pensions funds “should not dissolve within the frame of the reform”.

“It would be opportune that pension funds were supervised by a specific authority, which would bare in mind the peculiarities that characterise them,” Rinaldi said

In devising a new authority in charge of supervising pension funds, he added that the unions should play a role.

“The issue of pensions stability cannot be tackled in the same way as the stability of banks or insurance companies. After all, pensions are non-profit institutions.”

When it comes to pension funds, Rinaldi said, ”the trade unions and the employers play an important role. Any supervising body must recognise it.”

Covip will be represented at the parliamentary enquiry on January 29. Consob, which is also expected to be represented at the enquiry by its director, declined to comment.

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