The organisation behind the Resaver cross-border pension scheme for academic researchers is seeking to facilitate access to personal pension products for such workers.

Its initiative is in the first place aimed at freelance researchers.

Resaver Consortium is looking for insurance companies and other financial institutions willing to offer third pillar products to individuals working for organisations that are members of the organisation.

The original deadline – to fill in a pre-qualification questionnaire – was 26 December but a few days before that date it was extended to the end of January.

The level of interest in the project appeared “quite reasonable”, according to Filip Hemeryck, cross border pension fund manager and senior consulting actuary at Aon Hewitt in Belgium, which advises Resaver.

He said this was based on the number of downloads of the pre-qualification questionnaire, and taking into account that Resaver only carried out limited publicity of the tender.

The Belgium-based organisation is primarily targeting mobile individuals who work for a European education or research organisation but do not have an employment contract. This means they cannot join the pension fund it has set up for researchers in different European countries, or most occupational retirement schemes in general.

Resaver envisages the targeted private pension products also being available to employees with an employment contract, however.

Resaver’s pan-European pension fund came into operation in early 2017.

The Resaver consortium launched its private pensions initiative in anticipation of it taking time before EU regulation on a Pan-European Personal Pension Product (PEPP) would be launched.

It said its initiative “can be considered as a first step up towards a Pan-European Personal Pension Product helping researchers to ensure easy access to a (private) pensions wherever they go”.

The European Commission laid out its proposal for a regulation on a PEPP in June and it is due to be considered by the European Parliament in the first half of this year.

The Resaver consortium said it would take several years before the PEPP regulation was fully implemented across the European Economic Area.

Its expectation is that the products provided by any successful applicants would be the existing local market pension products.

The organisation is aiming to partner with one provider in each of 31 countries covered by the tender. Its role would be strictly limited to facilitating the access to the products through the existing Resaver portal; the personal pension product would be contracted directly between the individual and the selected provider.

Resaver expects providers would apply a competitive fee to individual researchers opting for a given product, and that they pay the consortium a fixed annual fee, per country, to cover the its administration costs.

Resaver is supported by the European Commission under its Horizon 2020 programme.