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&#39Industry should develop European pensions&#39

European-wide personal pension plans should be developed from industry initiatives and not designed by regulators or legislators, according to a report on insurance and pensions published last week by the European Commission.

The report says the scope for cross-border company schemes is set to grow but that relatively few pension providers have fully exploited the freedoms provided by existing EU legislation.

It calls on the UK Government to bring in further measures to promote saving. The report also asks for a “regulatory pause” to help the industry come to terms with the Financial Services Action Plan legislation and work on international accounting standards and solvency.

ABI deputy director-general Stephen Sklaroff, an author of the report, told a seminar on EU pensions and long-term savings this week of the dangers of allowing legislation to turn the EU into a high-regulation, high-cost environment, hampering its international competitiveness.

The report is one of four on banking, securities, asset management and insurance and pensions written by four industry advisory groups set up by the EU to advise it on what the next steps to take forward the FSAP.

Sklaroff said: “The group saw some scope for the development of pan-European products, for example, an annuity product or a European personal pension plan. But we firmly argued that such products would emerge, over time, from industry initiatives and should not be designed by regulators or legislators.”

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