EUROPE - The European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) is planning to publish a consultation paper on a quantitative impact study (QIS) of the 'holistic balance sheet' proposal by mid-June.

The news means EIOPA will be likely to postpone releasing the results of the study on the proposal for the IORP Directive.

In an interview with IPE, a spokeswoman for EIOPA said it was "improbable" the consultation paper would be ready this month, before adding that the European authority was currently working on the document and might finalise it before 15 June.

"The consultation paper - which details what particular points EIOPA is going to assess in the QIS to implement the holistic balance sheet approach, and which participants will get involved in the QIS process - is now under preparation.

"The team is seeking to launch it within the next couple of weeks. That's why I am hoping the final version of the public consultation paper will be ready by 15 June."

Once ready, the paper will be sent to all interested parties, including academics, industry representatives and supervisory authorities across all European member states, according to EIOPA's spokeswoman.

"Some member states that are not part of the European Union and act as observers, such as Liechtenstein and Norway, might also give their input on the methodology used by EIOPA to implement the holistic balance sheet proposal, if necessary," she added.

EIOPA will then review all the responses to the consultation paper provided by the industry and forward them to the European Commission.

The Commission will, in turn, have to approve EIOPA's methodology before the authority can launch the formal QIS on the holistic balance sheet approach.

Last month, IPE reported that EIOPA was looking to postpone releasing results for the QIS.

At the time, two sources close to the matter told IPE EIOPA was in talks with the Commission to revise the timeline with regards to the implementation of the IORP Directive.

Under the plans originally set by the Commission, the European authority was expected to launch the QIS in early May, with the view to publishing its results at the end of September.

The Commission was hoping to introduce a draft version of the directive before the end of this year.

But those plans led to a wave of criticism coming from the industry.

Many pension representatives decried the "short" timeline both EIOPA and the Commission had allowed themselves to implement the revised Directive.

In February, when EIOPA sent its advice on the revised Directive to the Commission, Dave Roberts, senior consultant at Towers Watson, argued that Brussels should have given itself more time.

"If the Commission is to take seriously the contingent nature of EIOPA's advice, then its desired timescale for delivering a draft IORP II Directive - by the end of the year - should be reviewed," he said.