The Resaver Consortium has postponed a search for personal pension providers because there were too few candidates in the first stage of the procurement.

Less than three providers filled in a “pre-qualification questionnaire”, according to an EU tender notification, which the organisation said was not enough to make for a competitive procedure with negotiations. It had therefore decided to stop the procurement “at this point”.

In a statement Resaver told IPE: “We believe this to be the best decision for the individual researchers. As we want to have the best solution available currently on the market for the researchers population, postponing seems to be the best strategy.”

The consortium is the organisation behind the cross-border pension scheme for European researchers. It already has an occupational pensions vehicle, the Resaver Pension Fund, for researchers with an employment contract.

The pre-qualification questionnaire was an early step in a plan to offer pension provision for freelance researchers.

According to the consortium, a lesson from the procurement attempt was that the pan-European personal pension product (PEPP) – for which the European Union is laying the groundwork – would be a more suitable solution for mobile researchers.

“One key outcome of discussions with potential providers was that personal pensions products are today mainly a local business with limited [cross-border] involvement,” it said. “Large market players are currently not organised in a way to react to this type of pan-European procurement procedures in the personal pension market.”

The Resaver consortium had split the procurement into 31 sub-contracts, for each of the countries in the European Economic Area.

Filip Hemeryck, senior consulting actuary at Aon Hewitt in Belgium, which advises Resaver, suggested the timing of the procurement process – with the PEPP regulation still going through the legislative process – might have been an issue.

For example, one insurance company had indicated the duration of the contract – three years – was an issue because if the PEPP regulation kicked in in the meantime it could not be certain that the product it had proposed for Resaver was the right solution.  

The consortium had said its initiative could be considered as a first step up towards a PEPP product for researchers. 

Resaver said it would likely start a new tender procedure in the near future and was committed to offering cross-border pension provision for researchers without an employment contract.

“Experience from the current tender process shows that this issue may be resolved once the PEPP regulations result in real pan-European players [in] this market,” it added.

The European Commission published a proposal for a PEPP regulation in June, and the European Parliament’s lead on the PEPP has drawn up amendments. The parliament is due to debate the proposal in the coming months.