EUROPE – The European investment fund association FEFSI says the European pension directive represents a “serious impediment” to the single market for financial services.

“As the new pensions directive did not really fulfil its goal, the European investment management industry’s next challenge will be to explain to European and national legislators that the discrimination of certain savings products and the preferential treatment of others constitute a serious impediment to the functioning of the single market for financial services,” said secretary general Steffen Matthias in FEFSI’s new annual report.

“There is no valid argument for preventing employees from benefiting from the unique combination of advantages offered by fund-based occupational pension schemes in terms of security, efficiency, flexibility and transparency.

“Hence, FEFSI will continue to push for the creation of a true level playing field between all pension providers and to remind the Commission of its commitment to assess the possibility of extending the application of the pensions directive to other financial institutions to avoid distortions of competition.”

Last month FEFSI said it would lobby the Commission and the European Parliament on gaining equal treatment for collective investment schemes with life and pension vehicles to provide retirement provision.

Meanwhile, FEFSI – or the Fédération Européenne des Fonds et Sociétés d'Investissement - is to change its name following the breakdown of its planned merger with the European Asset Management Association.

FEFSI president Wolfgang Mansfeld told a briefing in London today that the new name would be European Fund and Asset Management Association. Approval could come by the end of the year.

Referring to the stalled merger with EAMA, Mansfeld said: “The offer is still valid – on the other hand we have received no response from EAMA. Currently it appears not likely that the merger will occur.”

Earlier this year FEFSI changed its constitution to allow corporate membership.

“The response to our offer has been quite encouraging so far,” Mansfeld said. Fourteen fund and asset managers have committed to join, he said, adding that there could by 30 to 40 corporate members by the end of the year. He did not provide the firms’ names.