ITALY – Only 6.6% of Italy’s 19.5 million workers have signed up to one of the country’s new complementary pension funds, according to Milan-based consultancy firm, IAMA Consulting, who says the figure falls way below the 20% forecast at the time of the Dini pensions reforms of 1995.

According to research undertaken by IAMA, even taking into account the number of people covered by existing pension funds, the percentage is still only 10%, representing just under two million people.

Roberto Casanova, pensions and insurance consultant at IAMA, suggests that lack of education, communication and information is a major factor in the poor take-up rate of complementary funds.

Elsewhere, research carried out by financial services firm, Unicredito Italiano (UCI), suggests that just 1.1% of Italy’s total household income, or 3% of GDP goes into pension funds, compared with over 80% of GDP in countries such as the US, UK and Netherlands that have well-developed capital and savings markets. The level of household income in pension funds including traditional life insurance products is 11%.

UCI claims that the pension fund industry is still frustrated that it hasn’t as yet been able to capitalise from the growth in the savings market there. It says pension funds have been restrained by legal problems and a lack of pensions products on the market.

Nonetheless, UCI suggests that the Italian pensions industry is set for rapid expansion, with pension fund assets accounting for 25% of total household income by 2020, or 40% if you include life insurance funds.