The 4th Annual Conference of EIOPA took place on 19 November 2014 as part of the Euro Finance Week in Frankfurt.
Throughout the conference, more than 350 participants have got the possibility to exchange views on prospects for the long-term financing of economy; the role of the new EU Pensions Directive, the challenges of the Solvency II implementation and other regulatory and supervisory developments in the (re)insurance and pensions sectors.
In his opening speech Gabriel Bernardino, Chairman of EIOPA, spoke about strategic priorities of EIOPA for the upcoming years focusing on Solvency II implementation, on adequate, safe and sustainable pensions for European citizens and on risk-based regulation and supervision of conduct of business.
Jacques de Larosière, President of the Eurofi, in his intervention stated that since its foundation, EIOPA has been essential in the development of a strong European sector. He also assessed the work of all the three European Supervisory Authorities as a "very good one" and shared his views on the idea of the Capital Market Union.
Session I: Long-term Financing of the Economy – Sustainable Growth?
The panel focused on challenges, risks and opportunities for investors when considering to invest in long-term and rather illiquid assets. Panellists also discussed whether institutions with long-term liabilities are particularly prone for such investment classes. Conference participants pointed out that major obstacles of investing in long-term assets are the availability of appropriate assets and the ability to manage the relevant risks. The tendency "to search for safe assets" seems to shape the current investment landscape. It was noted that large firms are considered to have greater access to long-term assets than smaller companies, amongst others, also due to their financial as well as risk management capacity.
Panellists expressed the view that stable economic environment, stable regulatory framework, reliable legal and political conditions and the possibility for partnership between public and private sectors are necessary preconditions for long-term investments. It was also discussed whether low volatility across the whole investment period would be needed in contrast to only the end of the investment period. Investors from the insurance and pensions sector needs to ensure that they can fulfil their promises to their customers, i.e. when the liabilities are due.
In conclusion, life insurers and pension funds can play a role as long-term investors provided that robust risk management practices are in place as well as contract certainty for long time periods.
Session II: Pensions – Does the New EU Pensions Directive Reflect the Needs of IORPs in Europe?
It was emphasized that pension schemes should give sustainable promises. At the same time conference participants were unsure that the current workers will get the proper pension level once they retire.
Panellists underlined that consumer interests of workers should be at the heart of the political debate over the new EU Pensions Directive. Workers should be able to make informed choice about how exactly they want to receive their pensions depending on economic and their personal life situation.
Conference participants agreed that the review of the IORP Directive is a step in the right direction, but it cannot be done very quickly. It was noted that the key position to improve practices with regard to the treatment of cross-border IORPs is with EIOPA.
Session III: Solvency II – From regulation to supervision
Participants discussed challenges and benefits of Solvency II implementation, emphasised EIOPA's role and instruments as well as the industry's views and investors' perspective.
Among the biggest challenges both regulators and industry named Pillar I capital requirements, Internal Model approval and the potential lack of well skilled human resources. In addition, companies listed among biggest challenges the implementation of Pillar III reporting requirements and the establishment of a meaningful own risk and solvency assessment (ORSA). From consumer prospective the implementation of a sound governance system and structure in the organisation was seen as the biggest concern as well as disclosure requirements.
An academic study presented, came to the conclusion that the insurance sector is much more active cross-border than banking and pointed out the importance of Solvency II's consistent implementation across the EU and the crucial role of EIOPA in this.
Also Industry participants assessed the role of EIOPA positively, which sets a landmark in risk-based regulation for the (re)insurance sector in the EU and its role in the Solvency II implementation is widely acknowledged. This is eventually supposed to replace a multitude of national sectoral regulations and instructions by common European standards and guidelines.
Among the greatest opportunities of the Solvency II implementation conference participants indicated improved governance and risk management of insurance companies. This was also considered to be an undisputed benefit for consumers.
Welcome speech by Gabriel Bernardino, Chairman of EIOPA
Keynote speech by Jacques de Larosière, Eurofi President
EIOPA Members & Observers:
Please refer to the information email sent to EIOPA Board of Supervisors (BoS) Members on 3rd June 2014.
Registration is now open at the link below on the website of the Conference organiser (online registration).
|Reduced early-bird fee||EUR 690 (plus 19% VAT)||31 July 2014|
|Regular fee||EUR 800 (plus 19% VAT)||17 November 2014|
If you have any queries regarding the EIOPA Conference, please contact the EIOPA Training & Events Team on +49 69 9511 1920 or EIOPAConference@eiopa.europa.eu.
Congress Center Messe Frankfurt
Frankfurt am Main
Following registration, we recommend you book your accommodation immediately as Frankfurt is very busy during the EURO FINANCE WEEK. EIOPA Conference participants have the possibility to benefit from preferential accommodation rates at some hotels:
Online Hotel Reservation (Frankfurt Convention Bureau).
Rooms via the above link can be reserved until 21 October. The preferential conditions are only available via this link and not directly at the hotels. For reservation queries please contact Ms Fotini Kaldi at Frankfurt Convention Bureau, tel. +49 69 2123 0808 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
EIOPA Handbook for visitors to Frankfurt
Please quote EIOPA when making your reservation, directly at the hotels listed in the handbook.