During the Belgian trade mission to the United States, FSMA Chairman Jean-Paul Servais gave a speech in New York in which he explained the European and Belgian regulations governing pension funds.
In his speech, Mr Servais first described the passport for pan-European pension funds. This passport offers significant opportunities to sponsoring undertakings that have establishments in various European member states.
Mr Servais went on to address the way in which European legislation has been transposed in Belgium, emphasising that the Belgian legislation offers a clear and safe framework for pan-European pension funds.
The governance structure of such pension funds makes it possible to design schemes tailored to the sponsor’s specific needs. Thus, the pension funds can also fulfil the requirements of national social and labour law, which are not harmonized among the various member states in which the funds operate.
The rules concerning investment policy and the calculation of the long-term commitments of a pension fund are based entirely on the “prudent person principle” rather than laying down quantitative norms. They thus make it possible for the fund to manage its own assets and liabilities efficiently, along with a rigorous and solid risk management.
The Chairman emphasized, finally, that the FSMA, as the supervisor of pension funds, is well equipped to supervise pan-European pension funds and has gained the necessary experience in this area. This experience rests among other things on the proactive role the FSMA plays within the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA), including in the process of drafting European legislation and regulations on pensions.
“Belgium is currently the home supervisor for 9 pan-European pension funds active in several European countries. Several other pan-European pension funds are in the pipeline”, noted Jean-Paul Servais.