Relief as the EU drops pensions from Solvency II

City A.M. Reporter
EUROPEAN regulators yesterday dropped a bid to make pension funds subject to the same capital rules as banks and insurers, which could have cost European businesses billions of pounds to make their pension schemes more financially secure.

Michel Barnier, European commissioner in charge of drafting business regulation, said he would instead propose pension fund legislation in the autumn that would focus on governance, transparency and reporting requirements. Capital rules known as Solvency II were originally aimed at the insurance industry, but the regulator was proposing to adapt them for the pensions sector.

The decision to exempt pension funds was welcomed by industry representatives.

“Commissioner Barnier has made the right decision as it is vital to take more time for a thorough analysis of the effects of possible changes in solvency rules, which differ greatly between member states,” said Matti Leppala, secretary general and CEO for trade body PensionsEurope.

The solvency rules have been postponed indefinitely for the pensions sector and will become a task for the next commissioner who will take office in November 2014.