Consumer protection in third-pillar retirement products
Høring igangsatt av Kommisjonen 25.04.2013
I februar 2012 la Kommisjonen fram en hvitbok om Europas aldrende befolkning og implikasjoner for pensjonssystemene. Hvitboken tok utgangspunkt i at pensjoner kan bestå av tre "pillarer": en offentlig minstepensjon, en pensjon basert på opptjening gjennom lønnet arbeid og frivillige pensjonsforsikringer. I en høring igangsatt 25. april 2013 ønsker Kommisjonen tilbakemeldinger om spesifikke problemer knyttet til den tredje pillaren, blant annet med tanke på styrket forbrukerinformasjon og -vern.
BAKGRUNN (fra Kommisjonens konsultasjonsdokument, engelsk utgave)
The growing proportion of retired people in Europe is a significant challenge for the EU Member States. As a result of demographic change, pension systems must be financially sustainable, but also designed to ensure that pension benefits are adequate and that the living standards and economic independence of retired people are maintained. The challenge of meeting these requirements is made more difficult by the current financial and economic crisis, which has caused financial instability, reduced employment and disposable income, and the need for fiscal consolidation.
The European Commission’s Annual Growth Surveys (AGS) provide guidance on ensuring that pension systems are efficient, adequate and sustainable, particularly in the context of the need for growth-friendly fiscal consolidation. To achieve this, they highlight the importance of aligning retirement ages with life expectancy, restricting access to early retirement schemes, enabling people to work for longer and promoting complementary retirement savings.
Major national reforms during the last decade have begun to address the issues of adequacy and sustainability. To support these reforms, building on the 2011 and 2012 AGS, and in line with the Europe 2020 strategy, the 2012 White Paper on pension outlines an agenda at EU level for ensuring that pensions are adequate and sustainable. It focuses on creating conditions that will enable people to work for longer and enhance opportunities for them to accumulate secure complementary retirement savings.
Complementary retirement savings (including third-pillar retirement products) will play a greater role in securing the future adequacy and sustainability of pensions, reducing the burden on public pension schemes and increasing pensioner income. It is vital to ensure that consumers are adequately protected, boosting their confidence in a complex market where a poor investment decision can have severe adverse consequences.
To this end, the White Paper announced that ''the Commission will, by 2013, present an initiative aimed at raising the quality of third-pillar retirement products for women and men and improving consumer information and protection standards via voluntary codes and possibly an EU certification scheme for such products, building, where appropriate, on measures to improve information for consumers planned for 2012 on ‘packaged retail investment products’ (PRIPs).''
In addition, the White Paper announced a related action addressing contract-law issues for certain private pension products. The Commission is currently discussing this topic in an Expert Group on European Insurance Contract Law. The Group is expected to issue a report by the end of 2013. The Commission will decide on the need and the policy options to address possible contract-law related issues concerning third-pillar pension products taking into account the results of this consultation and the Expert Group's report.