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EU eyes tougher pensions regulation

Experts are warning the pensions industry is set for increasing regulatory scrutiny from Europe later this year as the European Union seeks to improve the quality of private schemes.

The EU is lining up a number of proposals and consultations affecting pensions from tough new investment rules to scheme governance. 

European Commission Financial Services User Group chairman Mick McAteer says: “There is a massive policy review looking at the sustainability of public pensions. As there is more use of private pensions the EU is looking at new regulations to ensure there is sufficient quality. Pensions is a big policy area in Europe this year.”

European Parliament elections are being held in May, with new European commissioners chosen in Autumn.

National Association of Pension Funds EU and international senior policy adviser James Walsh says EU pensions policy will depend on the priorities of the new commissioners. But he adds there are a number of issues to be handed over, such as the upcoming draft workplace pensions directive, focusing on governance, communications and funding cross-border schemes.

The European Institutional Occupational Pensions Authority is launching five consultations this year on creating a single system of assessing the health of pension funds. The NAPF warns these could prove “very costly” to UK schemes.

There are also pension concerns over investment rules on derivatives, money market funds, Mifid II and the Financial Transaction Tax.

Open Europe head of economic research Raoul Ruparel says: “The commission is looking at new rules on pension pots but there has been a lot of lobbying from the industry to ease the regulatory burden.”

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