Analysis of the standardized Pan European Personal Pension (PEPP) product and its impact in four European countries: the Netherlands, Estonia, Finland and Hungary
EIOPA has recently proposed to introduce standardized pan European personal pension products (PEPPs) that would be available in the accumulation phase, jointly with national personal pension plans. This paper analyzes the PEPPs from the perspective of the academic literature and proposes to use the PPR concept of Bovenberg and Nijman (2015) to categorize product characteristics, both in the accumulation phase as in the decumulation phase. The PPR concept can also be used to incorporate design features of the decumulation phase in the PEPP itself. A first important lesson to be learned from the academic literature is that the aim of stable income provision requires a framework where future asset returns are hedged rather than the asset only approach underlying the PEPPs. Whereas EIOPA proposes to allow switching between PEPPs only infrequently, the literature suggests that liquidity concerns are not a very convincing reason to restrict switching. Switching costs could be linked to the degree of liquidity of the portfolio. A better motivation for restriction on switching seems to be that investors might well put too much focus on recent investment performance as a predictor of future performance. As far as information disclosure is concerned more attention is recommended to the impact of biometric risks. More attention is also recommended for tax issues, because current tax provisions for national PPPs seem to be rooted in characteristics of the decumulation phase that can be avoided in the second regime. The paper concludes with a discussion of the potential impact of the PEPP proposal on PPP provision in four European countries.