EUROPE - Peter Skinner, of the committee on economic and monetary affairs at the European Parliament, has warned the Solvency II project has to be finished by next year.

Speaking at the annual conference of the committee of European Insurance and Occupations Pensions Supervisors (Ceiops) in Frankfurt today, Skinner said: "We need to make sure that we finish this in 2008, before the change of mandate after the European parliamentary elections in 2009."

Presenting his vision on Solvency II - the widely-criticised EU-initiated project aiming at creating a more risk-related solvency model - Skinner said stakeholders see the directive "as a reference point for the change that could occur tomorrow in global regulation".

He added: "We are creating modern rules for modern markets," arguing these are complementary to the Swiss Solvency Tests.

Pension funds have already expressed serious concerns about the potentially higher costs linked to this new directive.

However, IPE learned earlier this month the directive might not be implemented in the planned form after all.

Klaas Knot, director of supervisory policy at the Dutch pension regulator DNB and newly-appointed to CEIOPS' managing committee, told IPE in early November: "It is not being discussed that Solvency II, as such, will be applied to pension funds lock, stock and barrel."

He said Ceiops, the driving force behind the project, has set up a steering committee to deal with solvency issues for pension funds.

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