Europe is facing a double challenge: a significant need for long-term investments – crucial levers for economic growth – and a growing pension gap, both of which call for resolute action. Crucially, at a time when low interest rates and revised prudential standards strain the ability of life insurers and pension funds to offer guaranteed returns, Europe lacks a framework ensuring the quality and accessibility of long-term investment solutions for small retail investors and defined contribution pension plans.
This report considers the potential to steer household financial wealth – accounting for over 60% of total financial wealth in Europe – towards long-term investing, which would achieve two goals at once: higher growth and higher pensions. It follows a holistic approach that considers both solution design – how to gear product structuring towards long-term investing – and market structure – how to engineer a competitive market setting that is able to deliver high-quality and cost-efficient solutions.
The report also considers prudential rules for insurers and pension funds and the potential to build a single market for less-liquid funds, occupational and personal pensions, with improved investor protection. It urges policy-makers to act aggressively to deliver more inclusive, efficient and resilient retail investment markets that are better equipped and more committed to deliver value over the long-term for beneficiaries.
The report is the result of a CEPS-ECMI Task Force on Long-Term Investing and Retirement Savings, which was chaired by Allan Polack, CEO of Nordea Asset Management. Mirzha de Manuel Aramendía, CEPS-ECMI Research Fellow, and Karel Lannoo, CEPS Chief Executive Officer, served as rapporteurs.