PensionsEurope, the Brussels-based lobbying association, said it welcomes the modernised rules for pension funds under the IORP II Directive, which has now officially been agreed, and in particular the flexibility it allows member states in its implementation and its principles-based nature.

Janwillem Bouma, chair of PensionsEurope, said: “I would like to warmly congratulate the EU member states, the European Parliament and the European Commission for finding an agreement on the modernised rules for pension funds.”

He singled out the Dutch EU presidency and European Parliament rapporteur Brian Hayes for special thanks for taking on board many concerns that had been raised by pension funds.

“In particular, PensionsEurope is pleased that the updated legislation does not contain new solvency capital requirements for IORPs,” Bouma said.

Such requirements could have significant negative effects on IORPs, sponsors and members, he said.

The Council of the European Union yesterday said it had agreed the revised EU directive for occupational pension funds with the European Parliament.

Bouma said the association, which represents national associations of pension funds, welcomed the fact the IORP II Directive recognised IORPs were first and foremost institutions with a social purpose. 

“Considering the diversity of occupational pension systems across the EU and the central role played by national social and labour law, we are happy the member states retain flexibility to implement the IORP II Directive,” he said.

PensionsEurope was also glad the delegated acts, which would pass many regulatory competences to EU level, were not included the legislation, Bouma said.

Matti Leppälä, the association’s secretary general and chief executive, said the directive made the rules on IORPs’ cross-border activities clear. 

Even though the requirement for cross-border IORPs to be fully funded at all times was retained as a matter of principle, Leppälä said PensionsEurope welcomed the fact the possibility of being underfunded was now mentioned in the directive for the first time.

“Furthermore, we are pleased that both transferring and receiving authorities have a role in cross-border transfers, their roles are clearly defined, and EIOPA’s (European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority) mediation is not binding,” he said.

The modernised legislation makes pension funds better governed and more transparent, he said.

“PensionsEurope is happy that the new rules are more principles-based than the European Commission’s original proposal, and therefore, they take better into account the diversity of occupational pension systems across the EU,” Leppälä said.