CEA- companies need more say in EU regulator

EUROPE – The Paris-based Comité Européen des Assurances (CEA), the European insurance industry federation, has welcomed the EU’s recent public hearing on the supervision and regulation of financial services but fears the subsequent consultation process won’t go far enough.

In a letter sent this week to Fritz Bolkestein, the EU’s internal market commissioner, the CEA warns that lack of company involvement could have serious repercussions for the outcome of the process.

The CEA says representatives from companies themselves are “conspicuously absent”, even though the EU claims it recognises the need to involve all parties in discussions of such a high order.

The CEA supports the EU’s efforts to establish a new framework for prudential supervision and financial regulation in the wake of the Enron and WorldCom affairs but fears an adequate framework isn’t possible without the active participation of the companies covered.

The hearing took place on July 10 and some of Europe’s top financial regulators and supervisors attended, including Howard Davies, chairman of the UK's Financial Services Authority; Henk Brouwer, executive director of the Dutch central bank and Florence Lustman, secretary general of the insurance regulator Commission de Contrôle des Assurances.

The hearing sought to establish whether the EU needs separate regulators and supervisors for the banking, insurance, pension fund and UCITs industries or whether a single, combined regulator would suffice.

At present, banking and insurance are typically treated as separate industries and supervised by different entities. Pension funds and the insurance industry are often, but not exclusively, catered for by the same body.

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