Europe’s ageing population could lead to a generational conflict, the chair of the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) has warned.

The risk was mentioned by Gabriel Bernardino as he outlined the challenges facing the Continental pensions industry, and defended the role played by EIOPA to attendees at the PensionsEurope conference in Brussels.  

“Of course we are an independent body,” he said. “Our main objective is to promote convergence of supervisory and consistency practice across Europe.”

He said it was very important to have a body that could promote these needs, to the entire sector, covering both insurance and occupational pensions.

But Bernardino went on to stress that the authority’s job was not to replace existing national regulators.

“Our job is to promote consistency, to promote convergence,” he said.

Significantly, the issue of funding of EIOPA came up.

At present the formula is 40% coming from the European Commission, and 60% from member states.

“This is definitely not optimal,” said Bernardino.

As an EU body, the chairman said he would prefer for 100% of EIOPA’s funding to come directly from the EU.

Previous discussions on funding have also seen suggestions from Bernardino and the European Parliament that a levy on the insurance and occupational pensions sector itself could provide financing for the authority – a move the UK’s National Association of Pension Funds previously admitted would be “difficult to resist”.

Bernardino also rejected complaints about the proposed holistic balance sheet (HBS), saying: “The HBS is the correct way to achieve a common basis across the EU.” 

He invited participation in EIOPA’s stakeholder group selection process.

Supporting the work of the groups warmly, Bernardino observed: “It is not by hiding things we shall increase trust.”