EUROPE - The outgoing secretary general of the European Federation of Retirement Provision has been elected chair of the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority's (EIOPA) occupational pension stakeholder group (OPSG).

In addition to the appointment of Chris Verhaegen as chair, Benne van Popta was appointed vice-chair.

Van Popta last year became employers' chairman of Dutch metalworking mechanical engineering scheme PMT.

He is also employers' chairman of VB, the pensions lobbying organisation for industry-wide pension funds.

Verhaegen told IPE she was delighted to be appointed. "Appropriate stakeholders' involvement in the preparatory and legislative phase has become part of the EU decision process.

"With the OPSG, EIOPA, is equipped with a platform capable and willing to support and to enhance its work streams," she said, adding that the OPSG's first challenge was to assist with EIOPA's response to the European Commission's Call for Advice about the revision of the IORP Directive.

EIOPA's stakeholder groups - of which there is one for the insurance and reinsurance industry, as well as one for occupational pensions - consist of 30 members each and are charged with representing the interests of the industry in question. 

Other members in the OPSG include Fritz Janda, head of the Austrian pension fund association FVPK, and Niels Kortleve, who oversees actuarial projects at Dutch asset manager PGGM.

Dariusz Stańko, assistant professor at the Warsaw School of Economics, is one of five academics sitting on the board, while Philip Shier of Aon Hewitt in Ireland will represent scheme members' interests.

Both Verhaegen and van Popta have been elected as representatives of the pension industry.

Members of the stakeholder group are required to submit advice to EIOPA on the work conducted, as well as report any "inconsistent supervisory practice" in various member states, the organisation said.

Verhaegen is to step down from her current position at the EFRP at the end of the year and has already taken on additional responsibilities as a director in the financial sector.

Her replacement has yet to be announced.