EUROPE - Robin Ellison, the former chairman of the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF), has accused the Committee of European Insurance and Pension Supervisors (CEIOPS) of operating as a cartel plotting against pan-European pensions.

Speaking yesterday at the Employee Benefits World conference in London, Ellison said "they [CEIOPS] plot the destruction of pan-European pension schemes".

"Their jobs is to make sure pan-European pensions can't happen, because they are very worried that you and I would chose a soft country to go to and get away from the regulators in your country," he added, arguing CEIOPS's role is to build a cartel against pan-European pensions.

According to Ellison, CEIOPS will focus more on pensions over the next two to three years, causing much trouble for the industry.

"A battle is about to develop," he argued.

Ellison also mentioned the so-called Budapest Protocol on cooperation in the context of the pension fund directive, which was adopted last year and scheduled for an overhaul in 2010, calling it ‘conspiratorial'.

Alberto Corinti, of CEIOPS' Frankfurt, Germany-based secretary-general, told IPE he was surprised at Ellison's comments.

"CEIOPS' role as a level 3 Committee in the Lamfalussy model is to enhance convergence and co-ordination in supervisory practices across EU," he said.

"When it comes to pension matters, its objectives are to develop a common understanding of the IORP directive, to facilitate supervisory co-operation and exchange of information on the cross-border membership of IORPS, and to identify regulatory and supervisory issues that need to be addressed. All this activity is carried out precisely so pan-European pension schemes can happen and offer secure, well-funded benefits to millions of EU workers," Corinti added.