EUROPE - The Committee of European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Supervisors says it sees a gradual harmonisation of European occupational pension supervision.

CEIOPS has released a 22-page draft protocol on how European Union member states should collaborate on the occupational pensions directive, institutions for occupational retirement provision.

"This protocol describes how practical cooperation between the supervisory authorities can take place to enable effective supervision of pension schemes and IORPs that operate within the EU and the EEA," the document states.

"The protocol recognises that each home Member State Supervisory Authority will use a variety of supervisory methods and these will differ between Supervisory Authorities," CEIOPS said.

"However, through the regular exchange of information and experience necessary for effective cooperation and the development of best practice it is anticipated that there will be a gradual harmonisation of supervision and supervisory approaches."

"In view of the implementation of the IORP Directive in the EU Member States, which is envisaged by 23 September 2005, the draft Protocol provides a framework for the cooperation of the relevant supervisory authorities in relation to the supervision of IORPs that operate cross border," CEIOPS said.

It calls for a "constructive and open dialogue" between the home and host member state supervisory authorities.

It states general principles for cooperation and establish procedures for the authorisation of IORPs, the notification process and the additional exchange of information between supervisory authorities.

The protocol will be reviewed within three years of being introduced. Comments should be addressed to CEIOPS by May 30.