Europe’s top pension fund regulator will scrutinise how countries and national supervisors have implemented the IORP II directive this year.

The European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) has already been working on “supervisory convergence” in the European insurance sector, but with the revised EU pension fund directive having entered into force earlier this year the Frankfurt-based regulator has indicated a new priority area for this year would be “the promotion of supervisory convergence in the European pensions sector regarding the implementation of IORP II”.

The deadline for incorporating the IORP II directive into national law was 13 January 2019, although several EU member states have yet to take all the necessary steps.

The European Commission has launched infringement proceedings against a number of member states for “non-communication” of transposition measures.

A spokesperson for EIOPA told IPE that it would support national supervisors by providing guidance about the implementation of IORP II, given the changes and new requirements it introduced.

She said this would include joint work in EIOPA project groups and the publication of “opinions” during the second half of the year on topics such as environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) risks, and governance and operational risks.

IORP II introduced new governance and communications requirements, and a requirement for an “own-risk assessment”.  There were also a series of references to ESG factors in governance, risk management and investment contexts. 

EIOPA recently published the results of a peer review it carried out last year of supervisory practices in different EU countries relating to the application of the prudent person rule for occupational pension schemes.

It indicated that there should be more qualitative elements in investment supervision, and said it would “in a market-wide communication clearly define the elements” this entailed.

In the past six months the EU pensions regulator has published two reports relating to the implementation of the IORP II legislation, identified as providing guidance and principles relating to the pension benefit statement and “other information to be provided to prospective and current members”.