The EIOPA Chairman Gabriel Bernardino, during the keynote address at a Conference in Berlin, discussed challenges and developments toward building a sustainable pensions market in Europe. To this end, he also outlined the recent and ongoing activities of EIOPA related to the occupational pensions’ stress test, the supervisory expectations for implementation of the Institutions for Occupational Retirement Provision (IORP) II Directive, activities to improve the European occupational pensions’ statistics and data relevant for financial stability analyses, and the Pan-European Personal Pension product.
He examined the challenges facing the pensions sector, along with ways to make pensions safer and more sustainable to reduce the burden for younger generations. As per Mr. Bernardino, “the first step in the right direction will be the effective implementation of the IORP II Directive,” which will be transposed into national law by January 2019. He added that, in 2018, EIOPA will be focusing on the following tasks that will contribute to securing the future sustainability of pensions:
- Continue developing regulatory work arising from IORP II requirements in areas such as information to members, governance, and the evaluation of risks
- Ensure smooth and consistent implementation of new requirements and provide national supervisory authorities with practical solutions
- Pursue EIOPA recommendation for a common framework for risk assessment and transparency, providing a realistic and risk-sensitive view of the sustainability of defined benefit promises
- Foster the take-up of the common framework in national supervision and facilitate EIOPA’s biennial EU-wide stress tests of the occupational pensions sector by establishing a common, market consistent language
- Enhance availability of occupational pensions’ data at the European level by developing a single framework where regular annual and quarterly information is requested from national supervisory authorities
Mr. Bernardino added that “EIOPA is convinced that a Pan-European Personal Pension product (PEPP) is a promising legislative initiative, and if successfully implemented it will be a tangible improvement for the European citizens.” As per the EC proposal, EIOPA would take the responsibility to ensure a fully consistent quality criteria for the authorization, licensing, and passporting of PEPP. He added that standardized, comparable, and relevant information about available PEPPs needs to be relevant and easily accessible to consumers to help them make well-informed and conscious decisions about their saving plans for retirement. Therefore, further development of pension-related disclosures for the pre-contractual and the regular benefit statements is needed. He also mentioned that EIOPA welcomed the EC initiative to explore the best way to proceed to collect, analyze, and report on cost and performance indicators of the main long-term investments in personal and pension products. Outcomes of this initiative will enhance the proposed disclosure requirements for PEPP. In conclusion, EIOPA Chair said that, “We believe that a tool box of efficient risk management, improved funding, tailored systems of governance, a proper assessment of sustainable finances—together with the introduction PEPP, will contribute to make European pensions future-proof.”
Related Link: Speech (PDF)
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