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Covip fights for 'monitoring power'

The president of Italian pension
regulator Covip said he was
satisfied the agency will be
given back full power of supervision
on pension-related investments in
spite of late legislation.
This is the view of Covip’s president,
Luigi Schimia, talking about the
political debacle surrounding the
supervisor’s future and its core role in
the development of the Italian pension
industry.
The pension regulator has been in
the media spotlight because of the socalled
transparency bill being considered
by the Italian Senate, which
would redefine its role.
The bill, already passed by the lower
chamber of Parliament, has been
prepared to protect investments by
introducing higher standards of
transparency, but has stripped Covip
of its role of insurance supervisor,
transferring it to stock market regulator,
Consob.
As such the bill clashes with the pension
reforms passed last July, which
made Covip sole pension industry
supervisor. Schimia has embarked on
a campaign to have Covip’s role
acknowledged and has been backed
so far by politicians such as welfare
minister Roberto Maroni, the architect
of the pension reform and social
partners.
Welfare under-secretary Alberto
Brambilla is the latest politician to
throw his weight behind Covip’s
cause. He said that the government
had the necessary changes to the
transparency bill ready. The senate
has some weeks to present amendments
to the bill.
Brambilla made this announcement
at a conference also attended by
Schimia, who was key-note speaker.
The Covip head said that at the same
conference Economy and Finance
vice-minister Giuseppe Vegas, has
also assured that the government was
satisfied of Covip’s right to supervise
pension transactions.
Schmia said that a consensus is forming
and added Covip was grateful to
Maroni for his public backing.
“We draw strength and confidence
from such solid, all-around support,”
Schimia said, “ I am reassured.”
Schimia explained that as well as
some supervision authority, the bill
would also lose Covip the power to
monitor management contracts
between pension funds and managers
to make sure the pension fund is fully
aware of the risks involved.
“If we Covip are supposed to
supervise the pension sphere, it is primarily
about monitoring stability,
and what better way would we have
than checking the relationship
between manager and pension fund?”
Schimia observed.
“We must keep at all costs this monitoring
power,” he said.

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