Specifically, this is about a European-wide pension tracking system. Ideally all European citizens should have access to information about, and an overview of, their pension entitlements that they have acquired in Europe including projections of what they can expect from their pension. This will cover all branches and pillars, including company pension funds and the German Riester pension scheme.
The project is now entering its second phase. In the coming months, the EU Commission will start a tender process for establishing a European Tracking Service (ETS). A multi-million-dollar subsidy is planned for the initial phase. However, after several years, the platform must support itself financially. The provider of the service should be a private association consisting of pension insurance funds as well as national providers of pension information that go across all pension funds. The members of this association are also responsible for its financial viability. It remains to be seen how many institutions will be involved in establishing the new service. This could prove a serious obstacle to the project. The prerequisite for co-financing by the EU Commission is that a “critical mass” of participants are willing to commit themselves to the project, including a financial commitment. At least five Member States must participate in the initial phase and in the advanced phase there must be at least ten. Until now, there has not been a single statutory pension scheme from the first pillar that is definitely “on board”. The situation is different for the second pillar and especially the pension information providers of the Member States such as those which already exist in Belgium, Sweden, the Netherlands and Denmark. Germany will also most likely take part through the Pension Institution of the Federal State and the Länder (VBL).
A critical issue for many who are interested in the project could be the Commission’s intention to promote “consolidated advice” as a last resort. This would consist not only of “bringing together” information from various pension funds but also in consolidating information, not just for existing entitlements but also future pension entitlements. This only works by unifying important assumptions or parameters such as expected retirement age and biometric indicators. As such, the German Pension Insurance will follow developments in a European pension records service with a certain degree of caution.