European Parliament, Strasbourg

European Union PEPPs to go Before Parliament

According to reports emanating from Bulgaria, expat pension choices may be about to become broader and more accessible with the likely introduction of the European Union PEPP.

PEPPs – Pan European Pension Products – are understood to be at the draft stage, with regulations set to be examined by European Parliament for possible approval.

The development of PEPPs has come about as a result of a perceived need to give people greater choice when it comes to planning their retirement pensions, particularly given that there is not equality of options for retirement savers across the continent. It may also help address the fact that, according to the EU, only 20% of workers between the ages of 25 and 59 make regular pension contributions.

Because they will be pan-European, PEPPs are likely to be portable from country to country and will deliver standardised features across the board, regardless of the location in which they were sold. It is also thought they will include flexibility for savers, allowing them to switch providers with relative ease.

Bulgaria currently holds the European Council presidency and the country's minister for finance, Vladislav Goranov, recently told press that PEPPs will "promote competition amongst pension providers, enabling them to sell pension products outside their national markets and giving savers more choice over how and where to place their savings."

Draft regulation documents suggest that after a minimum period of five years from the end of the contract savers would be able to switch providers (or five years from the most recent provider switch). Some providers may even allow such changes more frequently and fees for provider changes would be capped.

However, in order to become an expat pensions reality, the regulations must first be approved by European Parliament.

Watch this space.

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