EUROPE - The European Commission must provide the pension industry with "certainty" over the implementation of Solvency II, the chairman of the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) has urged.

Speaking at a reception with journalists in Frankfurt's Goethe University, Gabriel Bernardino warned that the delay until March of a directive crucial for the implementation of Solvency II would be "potentially harmful" to the European Union's position and credibility overseas.

He said the delay had hindered the organisation's ability to launch a public consultation on the technical standards and guidelines forming an "integral" part of the framework.

The chairman added that he had written a letter to the European Parliament, Council and Commission stressing that all affected parties would "benefit most from […] certainty on the implementation of Solvency II".

"In our view," he added, "any further delays will lead to the development of national solutions that have the potential to hinder the efforts to achieve the greater European convergent practice that lies in the heart of this project."

He called on all parties to agree on a "clear timeline" for when the solvency regulation would be introduced.

"Further uncertainties and delays increase the risk of a postponement of Solvency II and, in turn, the benefits of a risk-based supervision and enhanced on risk management that Solvency II will bring," he said.

The chairman also spoke about EIOPA's IORP directive submission to the Commission, which he said would be published shortly - outlining that the organisation viewed "transparency, comparability, comprehensiveness and market consistency" as important in regards to new valuation and capital requirements.

"On governance, our advice will call for the strengthening of fit and proper criteria and for a proportionate - ie taking into account their nature, size and complexity - implementation by IORPs, of robust internal and external controls and a sound risk management framework," he said.

Bernardino also recommended introducing a Key Information Document for all defined contribution schemes - allowing members to have confidence in the fund "regardless of where it is located in the EU."

He also said the supervisor would soon publish an action plan outlining how it believed national supervisors affected by Solvency II should cooperate.

"The Action Plan for colleges of supervisors is focused on two issues," he said.

"First, supervisors should co-ordinate in their preparations for the implementation of Solvency II.

"Second, supervisors should establish a regular exchange of quantitative and qualitative information within colleges."