EUROPE – Brussels has asked the European Central Bank (ECB) and the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre in Ispra, Italy, to conduct an impact assessment study for the revised IORP Directive, looking at the potential impact the framework could have on financial markets and occupational pension funds, IPE understands.

Sources close to Brussels told IPE the EC commissioned two separate studies on pillar one of the revised IORP Directive shortly after it received the technical specifications on the launch of the quantitative impact study (QIS) for the revised IORP Directive from the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA).

According to the sources, the Commission asked the ECB to conduct a thorough analysis of the impact that capital requirements for occupational pensions could have on the broader financial market.

One of the two sources said: “I know the European Commission has commissioned the ECB to look into whether and how the introduction of risk-based supervision is influencing the asset allocation of pension funds.

“Not many people are aware of this, but the outcome could be very interesting.”

The Commission also asked the Joint Research Centre in Italy to conduct a second study in parallel, looking at the impact pillar one could have on IORPs themselves.

One of the sources told IPE it was still unclear whether the Commission would decide to proceed with these two impact studies, as it decided late last month to postpone the introduction of the first pillar of the revised IORP Directive.  

However, in his announcement, Michel Barnier, the commissioner for internal market and services, stressed that the capital requirements for pensions had only been dropped temporarily.

“I have decided first of all to present a legislative proposal focusing on governance, transparency and reporting requirements for occupational pension funds in autumn 2013,” he said.

“This proposal will not cover the issue of solvency rules for pension funds, which will for the time being remain an open issue.

“The situation should be re-examined once we have more complete data.”

He also pointed to the preliminary results sent by EIOPA on the first impact analysis conducted for the IORP II Directive.

“EIOPA has just carried out a study on the solvency of certain pension funds, which highlights the need to deepen our knowledge before taking decisions on any European initiative on solvency of pension funds,” he added.

Contacted by IPE, a spokesperson for commissioner Barnier did not immediately return calls for comment.

The Joint Research Centre declined to comment, while a spokesperson from the ECB was not immediately available.