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European commissioner to ease Solvency II for pensions fears

European Commission regulatory chief Michel Barnier will today seek to dispel fears about the impact plans to introduce Solvency II-type requirements will have on pension schemes, the Financial Times reports.

Earlier this month, the National Association of Pension Funds, the Trades Union Congress and the Confederation of British Industry wrote to European Commission president José Manuel Barroso warning proposals to ramp-up funding requirements for pension funds will force all remaining defined-benefit schemes to close.

The organisations also claim the plans will hit economic growth by diverting money away from investment in growth, job creation and research and development, and by driving pension scheme investments away from equities.

According to the FT, European commissioner for internal markets and services Barnier (pictured) will say: “I have no intention of penalising either pension funds or insurance companies.

“We are going to propose a regulatory framework specifically for pension funds, but this will not be done with a ‘silo mentality’. We must draw on the rules developed in other financial sectors, in particular some useful aspects of Solvency II.”

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