Pension funds

This section provides statistical data and background information on statistics on the assets and liabilities of pension funds (PFs).

Data

Euro area pension fund (PF) statistics are available as of the first quarter of 2016. They replace the PF statistics that were previously published by the ECB as part of a broader euro area insurance corporation and pension fund (ICPF) statistical dataset. ICPF statistics are available for the reference periods from the first quarter of 2008 to the second quarter of 2016 SDW.

The discontinuation of ICPF data collection, which was triggered by the collection of harmonised insurance corporation (IC) statistics, called for the separate collection of PF data, even though PF statistics had not been harmonised. As a result, reporting schemes changed for both IC and PF statistics. To provide continuity between the old ICPF statistics and the now separate harmonised IC and non-harmonised PF statistics, a link has been created between the datasets.

The series keys of ICPF euro area aggregates have been mapped with the equivalent series keys of the harmonised IC and new non-harmonised PF euro area aggregates, when available.

Statistics on euro area PFs cover those EU Member States whose currency was the euro at the time to which the statistics relate.

The reporting population comprises all PFs located in the euro area, including those that are foreign-owned subsidiaries (*) or branches of foreign entities. Foreign branches and subsidiaries of domestically owned entities are not included.

The PF data refer to the assets and liabilities of PFs and currently cover end-of-quarter outstanding amounts and selected financial transactions.

Outstanding amounts, or stock data, refer to the value of assets and liabilities at the end of the reference period.

Transactions, or flow data, refer to the net acquisition of a given type of asset, or the net incurrence of a given type of liability, during the reference period.

* Subsidiaries are separate, distinct legal entities. For this reason, they differ from branches, which are businesses fully integrated within the main company and are not legally or otherwise distinct from the parent company. Subsidiaries are usually limited liability companies, whereas branches do not have their own legal status.

Euro area pension funds balance sheet

Aggregated balance sheet of euro area pension funds

Statistical Data Warehouse – Interactive data access

All pension funds time series

 

Background

Pension funds are financial corporations and quasi-corporations that are principally engaged in financial intermediation as a consequence of the pooling of the social risks and needs of the insured persons (social insurance). Pension funds as social insurance schemes provide income in retirement and often benefits for death and disability.

The ECB has been receiving quarterly pension fund statistics collected under the “pension fund short-term approach” and reported under the ECB Guideline on monetary and financial statistics (ECB/2014/15).

Historical data on insurance corporations and pension funds Future statistics: improving data comparability

New data reporting requirements for pension funds

The ECB Regulation on statistical reporting requirements for pension funds (ECB/2018/2) was adopted on 26 January 2018. The new Regulation aims to increase transparency and improve data comparability in this fast-growing sector of the financial industry. The first harmonised information pension funds will report under the Regulation will be quarterly data for the third quarter of 2019 and annual data for 2019.

These harmonised data will enable the ECB and the euro area national central banks to compile a new set of statistics on pension funds. The first release of that dataset is planned for mid-2020.

The Regulation will remedy the shortcomings of the non-harmonised and incomplete quarterly statistics on pension funds published since June 2011, in particular the limited dissemination of transaction data due to insufficient data quality. The enhanced statistics will thus better support monetary and financial analyses, and contribute to the euro area financial accounts.

What data will pension funds need to provide?

Pension funds will need to report: data to their national central banks for statistical purposes; and data to their national supervisors for supervisory purposes. There is a significant overlap between these two datasets, with some additional information being required for statistical reporting.  

To minimise the reporting burden for the industry, the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) and the ECB have cooperated closely to maximise on these overlaps when preparing the definitions, methodological framework and transmission format for both statistical reporting and supervisory reporting. As far as possible, elements have been combined and duplication has been avoided to create a reporting environment that consolidates statistical and supervisory data requirements. This gives national authorities the option to implement a single reporting flow for statistical and supervisory data.

The reporting environment is set up by EIOPA in a technical reporting framework, on the basis of the data point model (DPM, a structured representation of the data) and a taxonomy, which uses eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL).

A first public working draft of the pension funds data point model and taxonomy was published by EIOPA on 16 July 2018, covering EIOPA and ECB pension funds reporting requirements. By 31 August EIOPA will have published a second public working draft correcting the issues detected in the first version and including all the expected business validations (taxonomy assertions) for both ECB and EIOPA requirements. Feedback can be given until 10 October 2018 on the public working drafts of the pension funds data point model and taxonomy published by EIOPA, covering EIOPA and ECB pension funds reporting requirements.

EIOPA: Data Point Model and XBRL, public working draft

The items that pension funds have to provide for statistical purposes, in addition to the supervisory requirements, are called “ECB add-ons”. These add-ons are integrated in the technical reporting framework, on the basis of the DPM and the taxonomy.