EUROPE - The European Parliament has confirmed Gabriel Bernardino as the first chair of the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA), following pre-selection by the new EU authority's board of supervisors.

Bernardino, 46, is expected to assume his post on 1 March.

Previously, he was director general of the Directorate for Development and Institutional Relations at the Instituto de Seguros de Portugal (ISP), Portugal's insurance and pension funds supervisory authority.

Between October 2009 and December 2010, he represented EIOPA's predecessor - the Committee of European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Supervisors (CEIOPS) - as chairman.

The chair of EIOPA represents the authority at the Council of the EU, the European Commission and the European Parliament. He is elected for five years for a term that can be extended once.

The authority officially opened its doors in Frankfurt on 1 January.

Bernardino, who has a BSc (Hons) in mathematics, has a background in actuarial technical support in ISP's pensions funds department.

He has held senior positions involving Solvency II and the supervision of insurance companies and pensions funds. 

He is also a member of the Portuguese Institute of Actuaries and has experience in university teaching in the areas of mathematics, probability and statistics, and risk and solvency analysis. 

EIOPA, along with the other financial supervision authorities, was set up under an EU Regulation proposed in September 2009.

What emerged were a European System of Financial Supervisors (ESFS), consisting of a network of national financial supervisors working in tandem with new European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs), created by transforming the existing European supervisory committees.

In addition to EIOPA are the European Banking Authority (EBA), to be headed by Andrea Enria, and the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), which will be run by Steven Maijoor.

The European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB) was also established to monitor and assess potential threats to financial stability.