Following the five strategic goals set out in its 2015 work program, EIOPA’s strategic priorities were set out in a speech by Gabriel Bernadino at the EIOPA Conference in November. Unsurprisingly, Solvency II was the first thing mentioned, but there was also a strong theme of consumer protection. A brief summary follows.
Recognizing the need for effective and convergent supervision across Europe, EIOPA have a number of initiatives to reduce the risk of divergent interpretations/approaches. The Guidelines papers are just the first element, with EIOPA also developing a supervisory handbook. This will be coupled with participation within colleges of supervisors, peer reviews, and bilateral discussions with supervisory authorities.
Effective protection requires a regulatory framework built on the principles of:
Work on the Institutions for Occupational Retirement Provision (IORP) directive continues, with an impact assessment and pensions stress test (covering both defined benefit and defined contribution schemes) planned for 2015.
On personal pensions, taxation and social law are the most significant hurdles to developing a product suitable for the entire European market. However, a simple product, with transparent fee structures could become a genuine European offering in the future.
Consumer protection requires:
To supplement the work underway on the Key Information Document for PRIIPS, consumer testing will assess whether this will provide helpful information. EIOPA is also developing a set of key risk indicators to facilitate risk-based supervision of conduct of business.
However, equally if not more important is a firm’s culture and strategy, and EIOPA will be looking for consumer interests to be definitely at its center.