On 16 November 2011 EIOPA hosted its first Annual Conference during the EURO FINANCE WEEK in Frankfurt.
The conference aimed to provide its 350 participants with in-depth analysis and high quality discussion related to the future of supervision in the European insurance and occupational pensions sectors.
Three stimulating panel sessions have been organized throughout the event:
Panel I “Solvency II, bringing views on how Solvency II will work in practice”
The panelists spoke about the future role of Solvency II for insurance undertakings. It was emphasized that it was not the intention of Solvency II for insurers’ business to be run by capital formulae alone, but equally by promoting though not overregulating risk management and governance mechanisms.
The participants stressed that Solvency II should not amplify the market volatility. Predictability of supervisory approach was considered important, but at the same time it was acknowledged that supervisors need to be able to exercise their judgment in times of crisis.
Proportionality should be a constant factor in the development and application of Solvency II to ensure that it is appropriate for all undertakings. The discussants also shared the opinion that Solvency II provides a good basis for greater market integrity and the supervision of international groups. However, it is not a global standard and it was felt that greater international convergence would be beneficial.
Panel II “Occupational Pensions, focusing on the European Commission’s planned revision of the IORP Directive”
The panel focused on EIOPA’s draft response to the European Commission’s Call for Advice on the review of the Directive on the activities and supervision of institutions for occupational retirement provision (IORP Directive), which is out for consultation until 2 January 2012. The draft response was well received. It was stressed that a new IORP Directive should stimulate the number of pan-European pension funds from its current low level. The participants agreed that governance and information requirements need to be enhanced, especially given the strong trend from defined benefit (DB) towards defined contribution (DC) schemes.
EIOPA’s announcement to assess the quantitative impact of the holistic balance sheet proposal in 2012 was considered both necessary and welcomed.
Panel III “Consumer Protection, assessing EIOPA’s commitment to take a “leading role” in protecting policyholders, pension scheme members and their beneficiaries”
The panel participants considered what the role of EIOPA should be in the area of consumer protection and financial innovation given the mandate it has to take a "leading role".
There was a discussion surrounding forthcoming legislative proposals such as Insurance Mediation Directive II (IMDII), packaged retail investment products (PRIPs) and Insurance Guarantee Schemes (IGS) as well as the relationship between solvency issues and consumer protection. Suggestions were put forward for further work by EIOPA on, for example, "general good" provisions. It was agreed that it was important for supervisors to have a convergent view and supervisory practices, listen to consumers and provide inspiration for harmonized legislation to enhance consumer protection.