EUROPE - The EU Directive on Institutions for Occupational Retirement Provision (IORP) has failed and should make way for a redrafted IORP II directive as soon as possible, members of a panel discussion warned in Brussels today.

Speaking at the European Association of Paritarian Institutions (AEIP) conference 'Heading for Solvency III' in Brussels today, Csaba Varga, director general of the Hungarian Financial Supervisory Authority and member of the CEIOPS managing board, told delegates "since the launch of the IORP directive only five cross-border schemes have been set up so one could argue that the IORP is a failure".

Ieke van den Burg, a Dutch member of the European Parliament also taking part in the panel discussion, called for a review of the IORP and urged the Committee of European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Supervisors (CEIOPS) to start working on an IORP II directive.

Varga said the directive's failure could be down to market cautiousness or a reluctance to apply the directive because of a lack of clarity on cross-border issues.

He added CEIOPS is planning to work on an evaluation of the Directive and will focus on policy-related guidance with advice on how to set up an IORP, while also working on finding the convergent elements between IORP and Solvency II.

Commenting on the CEIOPS report on solvency aspects of the IORP Directive, in which the organisation warned the European Commission that the Solvency II regime as set out for insurers should not apply to pension funds - (See earlier IPE story: CEIOPS admits Solvency II 'inappropriate' for pensions) - van den Burg said an IORP II would be better than a Solvency III Directive.

Van Den Burg warned the recent agreement pension funds should not be covered by the Solvency II regime is "not enough", arguing pension funds should not "lean back and think we have solved anything with the exemption from Solvency II".

She commented: "It is also necessary to make a better harmonised solvency regime for pension funds, but not by including pension funds in the insurance regime", adding she is pushing for such a solution in the EU Parliament.

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