In our input to the European Commission, PensionsEurope supports the Commission’s objective to simplify the life of taxpayers operating in the single market and we welcome the review of the VAT rules. In general, we believe all pension fund participants should be protected from unnecessary VAT burdens, regardless the character of the schemes as well as the Member State in which the services are being received. The current exemption for special investment funds should be extended to all pension schemes.
Even though the VAT exemption is in place, in some countries there is a stamp duty (for instance 4%) that is not subject or exempt from VAT and there is no possibility of any deduction. We urge the EC to recommend Member States to exempt (at least) pension schemes from this duty (or decrease their duty to no more than 1%).
Finally, we believe that establishing a cross-border investment-friendly tax environment in the EU not only requires removing unfair tax treatment but also introducing tax incentives.
On 21 April 2021, PensionsEurope submitted a response to the Commission’s Green Paper on Ageing, demographic change in Europe.
PensionsEurope welcomes the Green Paper on Ageing and believes this paper is a good starting point to launch a debate on the main impacts of the demographic transformations in Europe.
As representative of national associations of pension funds and similar institutions for workplace and other funded pensions, PensionsEurope believes one of the main needs people have is to enjoy an adequate standard of living in retirement, which implies having good pensions. We think more needs to be done at the EU and national levels and with the involvement of the social partners and all interested stakeholders to ensure that all people will enjoy adequate living standards in old age.
PensionsEurope believes the Green Paper should reflect more on the role that workplace pensions can play to (a) provide people with additional retirement income, (b) keep pension systems sustainable in the long term, and (c) contribute to economic growth in Europe. The Green Paper, the debate that will follow, and the measures that eventually will be considered by the European Commission should include policies and initiatives aimed at facilitating and encouraging participation in workplace pension schemes. Workplace pensions are essential for the adequacy and sustainability of our pension systems. PensionsEurope and its members are strong supporters of multi-pillar pension systems able to provide adequate and sustainable pensions to people in Europe.
You can read our contribution here.
The World Pension Alliance (WPA) published the paper on ‘2020 Global Regulatory Responses and Pension Fund Challenges Related to the COVID-19 Pandemic’, providing an overview of the challenges that both pension funds and pension plan members faced during 2020 and promoting the adoption of policies with a long-term view toward retirement security. The research underlines the damaging effects of specific policies such as pension withdrawals, without overlooking the current difficult situation of many workers all over the globe. With that in mind, the paper summarizes the challenges and global regulatory efforts in response to COVID-19 made in 2020 in different regions around the world in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and provides a brief analysis on sector developments since the beginning of the pandemic.
Even more so during the current pandemic crisis, pension funds serve a significant social function in supporting economies and citizens. They ensure benefits for old age income while they work as automatic stabilizers in times of economic strain. Because employers’ and employees’ representatives are involved in the management of workplace pension schemes, such schemes help to promote transparency, inclusiveness, and democratic legitimacy. Most notably, pension funds are important institutional investors and can foster long-term investment and sustainable economic growth while maintaining financial stability. They often act countercyclically by maintaining their long-term strategic asset allocation in stressed market conditions, in that they rebalance and buy assets whose prices have diminished abruptly.