EUROPE – The European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) is likely to send preliminary data on the first quantitative impact study (QIS) for the revised IORP Directive to the European Commission before finalising its recommendations.
A spokeswoman from the Frankfurt-based authority told IPE the team of experts at EIOPA was currently analysing the data received from the nine countries taking part in the first QIS exercise.
The first QIS, which aimed to assess the financial impact of different options for the valuation of the holistic balance sheet (HBS) and the calculation of capital requirements, was conducted by countries where defined benefit plans are most prevalent, such as Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden and the UK.
EIOPA's spokeswoman went on to say that the authority would send its preliminary results to the Commission in the spring, either in March or April, but could not give an exact date.
She added that the final report, including EIOPA's recommendations on the results of the QIS exercise and the next steps to follow for the introduction of the revised IORP Directive, would most likely be published at a later date, possibly in June.
She acknowledged that the authority would "most probably" seek to publish its results as well as its recommendations at once, but would need to get the agreement of the Commission to do so.
If EIOPA were to send its final report without releasing any preliminary data first, the timetable for the IORP could be affected.
Under the original plans, the Commission was aiming to introduce a draft version of the new directive before the end of last year, either in November or December.
But in June last year, Michel Barnier, the commissioner for the internal market, announced that the draft of the revised IORP Directive would not be published until the summer of 2013.
He said at the time: "Given the complexity and importance of this issue, and particularly the need for first-rate quantitative impact assessments, I have decided to take a few more months to finalise the revision."
In spite of this delay, the pensions industry has criticised the "tight deadline" and urged the Commission to conduct further impact studies before implementing the draft directive.
There is speculation in Brussels that the Commission might decide to postpone its work on the first pillar of the revised IORP Directive – the pillar focusing on capital requirements – and refocus on the second and third pillars, which deal with governance and transparency requirements.
Even at the end of last year, a number of pension experts were predicting the Commission might water down the first pillar of the directive.
Philip Neyt, managing director at Belgacom's pension fund, told IPE that his discussions with members of the Commission during the EIOPA conference in Frankfurt in November suggested Brussels was thinking to change its implementation plan for the new IORP Directive.