The European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority has launched a consultation on the quantitative impact study that will inform its final recommendations for reform of European pensions legislation.
The regulator is seeking views from the pensions industry on the methodology it plans to use to measure the impact that its proposed approach to a revision of the Institutions for Occupational Retirement Provision Directive could have on defined benefit pension schemes.
EIOPA submitted advice to the European Commission in February on how the valuation and capital requirements for DB schemes could be set out under the revision of the Directive planned for next summer. A revised IORP Directive is unlikely to come into effect until 2017 at the earliest.
In particular, EIOPA advocated a 'holistic balance sheet' to provide a single Europe-wide risk-based supervisory regime for pension schemes. The consultation published today is primarily concerned with how the value of different components in such a balance sheet should be calculated, such as the scheme's assets, liabilities and employer's ability to support the scheme.
EIOPA will use the conclusions of the consultation to inform the methodology it uses when it runs the QIS in the autumn. In February, the European Union's internal markets commissioner Michel Barnier said the QIS would have a key role to play in estimating the financial impact of the commission's final proposals for revising the IORP Directive.
Bill Galvin, chief executive of The Pensions Regulator, urged the UK pensions industry to play a full role in responding to the consultation and stressed that the regulator would continue to work to ensure the UK approach to pension regulation was recognised by the EU.
'If the commission chooses to adopt EIOPA's advice on the use of a "holistic balance sheet", we will seek to ensure that it is implemented in a flexible way that is consistent with our scheme-specific approach,' he said.
'I can also reassure pension trustees that the regulator plans to carry out the autumn QIS using our existing data and analysis so there will be no additional burden upon schemes. Any large schemes that wish to run the methodology voluntarily are of course able to do so, and the regulator will take into account their estimates in feeding results to EIOPA.'
The consultation can be found here and is open until August 13 2012.