EUROPE - Hans Janssen Daalen, general director of the Dutch Fund and Asset Management Association (Dufas), has called for European standardisation of pension regulation to prevent "improper" jurisdictional rivalry.

Commenting on the current debate between Belgium and the Netherlands, Janssen Daalen told IPE: "It would be extremely undesirable if Dutch pension funds decamped to Belgium because of lowers solvency norms."

He added: "This kind of ‘regulatory arbitrage' should not happen in Europe, particularly not in things that touch such an important part of consumers' finances."

He called upon the European Commission to prevent member states competing with each other in the way that the Netherlands and Belgium seem to be.

"In the Dutch pension world there is a great level of consensus about this issue," said Janssen Daalen.

Mihály Erdos, the Hungary-based chair of the Occupational Pensions Committee of the Committee of European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Supervisors (CEIOPS), commented: "If you have cross-border cases, you somehow need harmonisation, but it is difficult to say how deep this harmonisation should be."

Erdos also condemned the recent public clash between the Belgian and the Dutch supervisors, saying: "It is a very sensitive issue and I wasn't so happy when I read the news that there are some exchanges between supervisors in public, and not in a more professional way."