BELGIUM - New pension fund reporting requirements imposed by both the Banking, Finance and Insurance Commission (CBFA) and the National Bank of Belgium (BNB) have been branded excessive and costly administrative burdens by the Belgian Association of Pension Funds (BPFA).
Secretary general Hugo Clemeur said reporting obligations issued by the Commissie Voor Het Bank, Financie en Assurantiewezen (CBFA) at the beginning of 2006 were considered unnecessary by the association.
“[The commission] is asking for a number of details on plans and on employers which have little to do with prudential control, and probably have more of a statistical relevance than anything else,” he said. “We think this is slightly beyond the normal cause of action for a controlling authority, especially because the same information is not asked for from life insurance companies. We have no objection to reporting to the CBFA,providing it is relevant, but we feel that this is not always the case.”
Edwin Meysmans, vice chairman of the KBC pension fund and executive committee member of the BPFA, said in previous years, simple details about the portfolio and the funding ratio had sufficed.
“[The commission] is asking for very detailed information such as the age of the plan and an overview of all the changes to the plan,” he said.
The CBFA said the requests for information made this year were necessary to establish a new database. A spokesman said next year much of the information would already be on the database and the reporting task would therefore be less demanding. “This transition may seem as if we are asking for double information, but we need it to control the pension funds, to see if they are viable, and to do our work,” he said.
Pension funds are required to report securities data relating to their assets and liabilities to the BNB. The bank said it had fused this requirement with the CBFA reporting obligation to avoid double reporting of the same information.
It added that its new system, effective January 2006, had replaced two previous reporting systems to reduce the administrative burden.
“The fact we have to report something we didn’t have to previously is a cost issue because it involves setting up the administrative systems to get the reporting done,” Clemeur said. “And all the reporting systems have to be reviewed on a rather short notice.”
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