EUROPE - The European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) is looking to postpone releasing results for a full impact study on its 'holistic balance sheet' (HBS) proposal for occupational pension funds, according to sources familiar with the matter.

The two sources in Brussels told IPE that EIOPA was in talks with the European Commission to revise the timeline with regards to the implementation of the revised IORP Directive.

Under the plans originally set by the Commission, EIOPA was expected to launch the quantitative impact study (QIS) on the HBS approach in early May, with the view to publishing its results at the end of September.

At a public hearing in Brussels earlier this year, EIOPA chairman Gabriel Bernardino said the Commission would then study the results "carefully", aiming to publish a draft version of the revised IORP Directive in late November or December.

However, according to the two sources in Brussels, EIOPA will now be looking at launching the QIS at the end of May, postponing the publication of its results to the first quarter of 2013.

This means a draft version of the new directive might not be ready before next June, according to the same sources.

EIOPA declined to confirm or deny revisions to the timeline, saying only that talks with the Commission were still ongoing.

A spokeswoman at the authority said: "EIOPA is currently discussing with the European Commission the timeline for the conduct of the QIS, as well as the publication of its results, and has not yet reached any final decision."

Speaking with UK members of parliament earlier this week, Karel van Hulle, head of insurance and pensions unit at the European Commission, said it was "difficult" to provide a proper timeline for the launch of the QIS and the implementation of the revised directive at this stage.

"The Commission realised during the consultation with EIOPA and the public hearing that the HBS approach is technically difficult but also politically sensitive," he said.

"That's why the Commission wants to do a very careful preparation. We have not yet finalised the technical specifications that will help EIOPA conduct the first test."

The industry has regularly voiced its concerns over the "tight" timescale the Commission had imposed, arguing that the implementation of the revised IORP Directive was a "serious" matter that Brussels should consider in greater depth.