The paper focused on three key aspects of personal pensions: a possible definition of a personal pension; potential cross-border frameworks to create a uniform European system; and consumer protection, including information disclosure and selling practices.
It said the EU needed to tackle taxation regimes in different jurisdictions, to help create a more level playing field and create more competition and innovation in the occupational pension scheme market.
To do this, the EU should consider how to implement a single market for personal pension products and ensure better transparency and risk diversification.
According to the paper, it is now seeking to obtain the views of stakeholders on a wide range of issues relating to personal pensions and it poses more than 70 questions to gather feedback from contributors.
The paper said that, once stakeholders’ input has been analysed, the next step will be for Eiopa to prepare a report, to be made available to the European Commission in early 2014.
It is expected that the Commission will then issue a detailed call for advice to Eiopa, with a response deadline set for 2015.
The publication of the paper followed the European Commission’s request in 2012 for Eiopa to provide technical advice on the prudential regulations and consumer protection measures needed to create a single market for personal pensions.
Financial planner Alan Dick of Glasgow-based Forty Two Wealth Management, said: “In general this idea scares me. It is bad enough that we have one government tinkering with pensions, far less having lots of governments tinkering with them. People have lost faith in pensions already because of this.
“Also, pensions are a tax-privileged way of saving and they need a centralised tax system. This is potentially a major political issue that we could do without. I would be very cautious about this idea and I wonder if it is a good use of everyone’s time and money.”
■ There is untapped potential to realise further efficiency gains through scale economies, risk diversification and innovation.
■ Differences in the tax regimes among member states may still lead to double taxation of retirement capital.
■ While there do not seem to be major prudential obstacles for pure defined contribution personal pension plans, the situation is more complicated with respect to defined benefit products and DC with guarantees.
■ To develop a successful single market for PPPs, the interests of PPP holders have to be well protected.