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ABI puts case for Euro regulator

The Association of British Insurers says the European Union should consider a single prudential regulator for Europe.

The call forms part of the ABI’s latest report on European insurance, outlining principles it hopes will aid global recovery and restore trust in European financial services.

It is calling for a debate over the feasibility of a single prudential supervisor in the long-term to overcome the current lack of trust between separate European regulators.

It is also proposing better use of the information exchange offered by colleges of supervisors and more resources for level-three committees, which bring together European regulators in specific financial sectors.

The launch coincided with an ABI board meeting in Brussels which included discussions with senior European officials and MEPs.

The report includes principles to underpin new legislation or proposed solutions to reform financial supervision. These include the need for better, targeted regulation and risk and principle-based regulation as opposed to light-touch.

ABI director general Stephen Haddrill says: “Decisive but considered action is needed from Brussels. Confidence and trust must be regained, and calls for protectionism challenged. We must now look carefully at both radical and evolutionary ways forward, including the possibility of a single European prudential supervisor.”

Beachcroft Regulatory Consulting managing director Richard Hobbs says regulation needs to operate on a global level, rather than across the EU. He says: “The institutions in question and the problems we’re seeing do not exist at an EU level, they exist on a global level. We need international cooperation, strong international connectivity and strong international communication.

“We should be moving towards global regulation, which would bring about earlier effective intervention.”


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England vs Australia: pensions

Well, the cricket season is here, and England and Australia are stepping up to the wicket. Although we compete with each other in the sporting world, when it comes to pensions, Australia’s pension programme is held up as a model for our auto-enrolment initiative. Auto-enrolment was introduced because people weren’t saving enough into their pensions, and it is still early days but signs are positive. However, in Australia, saving into a pension is compulsory, and in fact employers are the ones who have to pay in. Employees in Australia can make additional contributions into their pensions, but they don’t have to. Should the onus be on the employer or employee to save? Well in the UK we think it’s both, but to get ‘adequate’ savings for retirement it’s the employee who has to pay more in.


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