The legal basis for EIOPA’s proposed framework for information requests from national authorities is questionable, according to PensionsEurope.
Earlier this year EIOPA – the EU supervisor for insurers and pension funds – proposed a single framework for the regular reporting of occupational pension information by “national competent authorities” (NCAs). It cited Article 35 of its founding regulation as the basis on which it requests information from the NCAs at recurring intervals and in certain specified formats.
In its response to EIOPA’s consultation on the proposed framework, PensionsEurope said Article 35 did not “stand on its own”, as the IORP II Directive was the basis for prudential regulation of Institutions for Occupational Retirement Provision (IORPs).
The IORP II Directive did not stipulate the introduction of reporting and disclosure requirements like those under Solvency II, it said.
The only way EIOPA would have a legal basis for its proposed reporting requirements, PensionsEurope suggested, would be if certain European Commission-proposed changes to the European system of financial supervision were adopted.
Even then, however, “the level of harmonisation for IORPs would still be determined by the IORP II Directive”, PensionsEurope added.
The umbrella association for European national pension trade bodies also criticised EIOPA’s plan to require NCAs to report individual data on the largest European pension funds, saying it was not EIOPA’s role “to supervise individual IORPs”.
Aggregated data was enough for EIOPA to be able to meet its aim, PensionsEurope argued. The trade body said EIOPA did not have a legal basis to directly approach individual pension funds “and EIOPA should not do it in an indirect way by asking the NCAs to pass all reporting templates of individual IORPs”.
EIOPA has asked for data relating to pension funds with assets of more than €1bn, or for at least the five biggest IORPs in a given country, unless they are smaller than €100m.
“EIOPA will refrain from publishing any individual IORP data and will pay particular attention when publishing aggregate data of small sets of reporting entities’ data,” it has said.
Overall, PensionsEurope said it had not heard “sound arguments” supporting EIOPA’s request for data. Trade bodies have already criticised the proposal for the burden and costs it could impose on pension schemes.
PensionsEurope said EIOPA needed to make “a robust case” for the benefits to members from wanting the information.
“This should include a detailed account of what action EIOPA would propose to take in the event that the data provided raises concerns,” it added. “We are unclear what those concerns might be, but we presume that EIOPA has already considered this in detail and will, therefore, be able to publish this information before the end of 2017 – together with the full account of the actions it will take in the event of those concerns being realised.”
The European Central Bank (ECB) also has its eye on pension fund data, and has consulted on a draft regulation for statistical reporting requirements for pension funds. PensionsEurope has been more positive about this: in its response to the EIOPA consultation it said NCAs should align their reporting with the technical format and data required under the draft ECB regulation.