EUROPE - The Committee of European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Supervisors (CEIOPS) is investigating how many interpretations of the European Unions' IORP directive are likely to emerge.

The organisation said in its latest annual report the main focus of the CEIOPS study will be to analyse terminology like "full funding", "ring-fencing", "cross-border activity" or the calculation of technical provisions.

"The aim is to reach an understanding of the background and reasons forany different practices and a common understanding of the provisions ofthe IORP Directive," CEIOPS noted in its annual report.

"Based on this exercise, CEIOPS will analyse any obstacles for cross-border activities and the need for further convergence," said CEIOPS.

Speaking at the annual conference of the German association of occupational retirement provision aba in May, CEIOPS chair Thomas Steffen suggested different interpretations of concepts like "fully-funded" had brought the occupational pension funds directive IORP "to its limits".

This latest report also confirmed the EU has asked CEIOPS to look into member states' current solvency regimes so the committee is collecting data on countries' legal and supervisory situations.

CEIOPS will extend its current work on legal uncertainties surrounding the IORP to "areas that affect the supervision of IORPs operating cross-border".

The study is scheduled to be finished at the end of the year and will play an important part in the discussions on the IORP review, set to begin in 2008. In the course of those talks, parts of the Solvency II provision will be considered.

Steffen pointed out at the aba-conference he wants to see "the valuable core ideas of Solvency II being applied to pension funds" amended slightly, to take into consideration the differences between institutions offering pension provision and insurance, the market which Solvency II was devised in the first place.

The so-called Budapest Protocol on cooperation in the context of the pension fund directive, which was adopted last year, is also scheduled for an overhaul in 2010.