The head of the European pensions regulator has confirmed that further work will be needed to measure the impact of proposed changes to European Union workplace pensions legislation.
Gabriel Bernardino, chair of the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority, told an event in Berlin yesterday that the quantitative impact study his organisation ran last autumn was the 'first step' towards making more pension balance sheets 'more comparable and transparent'.
The study, which was run in nine countries and involved around 100 pension funds, assessed a key aspect of the proposed revision of the EU Institutions for Occupational Retirement Provision Directive, the 'holistic balance sheet'. This aims to take into account all aspects of a pension scheme's financial situation, including assets, liabilities and the employer's ability to support the scheme, when it is being valued.
Bernardino explained that the quantitative impact study 'was the first occasion for institutional occupational retirement providers - but also for supervisors - to explore the practical application of the holistic balance sheet. For a number of reasons it is fair to assume that there will be considerable variation in the QIS results'.
'The inconsistencies encountered during this QIS need to be carefully mapped, so that they can be improved upon in future QISs,' he said.
Bernardino explained that the next impact study would be 'considerably less extensive' with regard the number of scenarios it tests. It would also provide better guidance and more simplifications, he said.
'A less elaborate QIS will not only allow for a greater focus on quality - instead of quantity, but also for a greater number of IORPs to participate,' he added.
Preliminary results on the impact study are expected to be sent to the European Commission by the end of this month before EIOPA produces a final report on them by the end of June.
This had been expected to trigger a full legislative proposal from the European Commission on the revision of the IORP Directive.
However, the proposals have attracted opposition from politicians, business groups and other bodies in a number of EU member states. Last December, the CBI claimed meeting capital requirements based on the Solvency II regime being applied to insurers could cost UK businesses an extra £350bn.