EUROPE - Regulation is the biggest issue facing European pension systems as they prepare to implement the EU directive in 2005, European Federation of Retirement Provision chair Alan Pickering (pictured) told the Irish Association of Pension Funds conference in Dublin.
Pickering said countries’ should “avoid regulatory arbitrage” and adopt a partnership approach where regulators across Europe operate hand-in-hand.
“What we really need is a common regulatory platform across Europe and that really depends on regulators getting to know each other and trust each other, not just as individuals but as regulators,” he told the conference.
“I hope that as the regulators begin to meet each other more recently they will compare their regulatory tool kit, there should be that coming together to throw away superfluous regulatory tools.
“Ultimately it’s the customer who bears the cost of regulation, it’s the customer who bears the cost of over-regulation.”
Pickering said regulators were pushed to think more about self-preservation that preservation of customers of the regulated industry by a political climate that “on the one hand espouses light regulatory touches, yet on the other blames regulators when things go wrong”.
He also warned that the EU pension funds regulation must be considered in the broader context of other imminent directives.
“I think it would be foolish for any of us to look at the pensions directive in isolation,” he said.
“It’s a challenging few months ahead for regulatory supervisors to get to know one another and while they are getting to know one another, to try and introduce the new directive in a framework sense, not a nuts and bolts detail-restrictive sense.”
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