EUROPE - The body of regulatory officials knows as CEIOPS is planning this year to try and identify those European pensions schemes which are not currently covered by any European Union legislation, as part of its continuing review of cross-border pensions supervision.

The annual report for the Committee of European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Supervisors (CEIOPS) released earlier this week revealed a key focus of the regulatory collective will be to continue to enhance "convergence of supervisory practices in relation to cross-border IORPs" over the next 12 months, and identify schemes not fitting into current prudential regulation as part of that process.

CEIOPS has already begun a review of the Budapest Protocol, relating to the regulation of cross-border IORPs, having released a consultation paper on the subject in April. (See earlier IPE story: CEIOPS seeks to solve cross-border IORP conflicts)

The Budapest Protocol is described by CEIOPS as relating to to "Collaboration of the Relevant Competent Authorities of the Member States of the European Union - in particular in the application of the Directive 2003/41/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 3 June 2003, on the activities and supervision of Institutions for Occupational Retirement Provision (IORPs) operating cross-border".

Officials say the project should be completed in November and will include a new section explaining how consumer complaints should be handled between jurisdictions, but will mainly focus on ensuring regulatory rules and practices between supervisors are "consistent and effective".

At the same time, the body said its work on occupational pensions and solvency for IORPs will "intensify" once the European Commission's study into the impact of solvency rules has been completed. (See earlier IPE story: EC to look at solvency rules on pensions)

Further studies will also be conducted on risk management and the internal controls of IORPs, stated the annual report.

The European Commission announced only last month that CEIOPS could be replaced by a new European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority next year, which has more powers than CEIOPS to improve cross-border cooperation between regulators. (See earlier IPE story: EC to replace CEIOPS)

Consulting firm Watson Wyatt said this is "clear evidence that the European body of supervisory authorities supports the development of cost effective multi-country pension funds", though it questioned how much information from its ongoing reviews will be placed in the public domain.