„Seriously concerned“: Der europäische Arbeitgeberverband BusinessEurope hat Ende Juni ein Positionspapier zum Kommissionsvorschlag einer neuen Pensionsfondsrichtlinie (IOPR-II-RL) vorgelegt. Im Verhältnis zu anderen Interessenvertretungen äußert sich der Verband spät. Dafür aber detailliert.
Wenig überraschend lässt BusinessEurope (nicht zu verwechseln mit dem europäischen bAV-Verband PensionsEurope) als Vertreter der europäischen Industrie – und damit der Hauptbetroffenen einer neuen Regulierung – kein gutes Haar an dem Entwurf. Dabei legt er sich auf drei Schlüsselaussagen fest:
1. Eine arbeitgeberseitig angebotene bAV ist sozial äußert wünschenswert und muss daher „kosteneffektiv“ bleiben.
2. Auch wenn sie auf den Finanzmärkten operieren, ist eine Behandlung von EbAV als Finanzdienstleister oder Verbraucherprodukte unpassend, da sie Einrichtungen der sozialen Sicherheit im Gefüge der Arbeitnehmervergütung darstellen.
3. Effektives Risiko Management, Transparenz und Good Governance sind auch für EbAV wichtig, doch sind die vorgeschlagenen Maßnahmen überdetailliert.
In der Folge führt der Verband in dem elfseitigen Positionspapier insgesamt 44 Punkte auf, davon die allermeisten mit Kritik an dem Kommissionsentwurf. Nur einige der prägnantesten seien hier kurz herausgegriffen:
Nr. 9, 16 und 44: Solvency II durch die Hintertür. Oder später
„We have very strong concerns that some of the proposals for risk management could lead de facto to solvency requirements for pension funds or that such measures would be introduced later.
The new Risk Evaluation for Pension report (REP), combined with the possibility for the Commission to adopt delegated acts may lead de facto to quantitative solvency requirements on the basis of Solvency II, through the back-door. The proposed measures would require schemes to undertake an assessment after major changes in their risk profile. This is a similar process to the Own Risk and Solvency Assessment (ORSA) in Solvency II. Depending on the details provided by EIOPA and the Commission in the corresponding delegated acts, on the longer term this could result in obliging pension schemes to store capital to mitigate any future risks.
The proposal includes a clause stating that the Commission four years after entry into force of the directive should review its effectiveness.
We fear that this could lead to solvency requirements for pension funds being introduced at a later stage.“
Nr. 11: Subisdiarität
„Any action to complete the internal market has to be appraised in the light of the subsidiarity principle.“
Nr. 12: Die pauschale Wucht der schieren Masse
„The sheer number of articles that would be in a future directive is four times as many as present. This would pose excessive administrative burdens and costs for pension funds, in particular smaller ones. In addition, some of the measures go too far in harmonizing aspects of occupational pension provision across the EU including how schemes should be designed. This does not adequately recognise and respect the considerable diversity in the provision of occupational pensions between different member states, different sectors and indeed companies.“
Nr. 13: Polen offen auf Level 2 und 3
„We have strong concerns that the possibility for the Commission, using EIOPA, to develop delegated acts, could lead to even more detailed prescriptions for pension funds and inappropriately uniform requirements. It would also inappropriately avoid the normal legislative procedure with the European Parliament and Council, in which all stakeholders are able to influence the decision making to make requirements practical and effective.“
Nr. 14: Größenunabhängige Gleichmacherei beim Risikomanagement
„We do not believe that there should be a one-size-fits-all approach. The same risk management procedures are not appropriate for different sizes of pension plans.
The size of the pension scheme is much more complicated than only the number of members. For example, the asset size should be taken into account or other important elements like asset allocation, risk profile, plan type etc.“
Nr. 18 und 19: Das Fit-and-proper-Problem
„The new measures would conflict with the way that systems are currently run in many countries, despite current practices working well. For example, they would mean that in some cases employers would no longer be able to administer their own pension schemes. Also, in many countries pension plans are required to have plan members elected to the board – these people would not necessarily be able to pass the 'fit and proper test', whereas they play an important role in representing the voice of the employees in the IORP. In the UK, for example, the effective system of lay trustees would no longer be possible.
We are also concerned that the wording of Article 23 on fit and proper management would exclude non-EU nationals from serving on the boards of pension funds.
Even if we assume that this is unintentional, this is a concern since it would hamper global companies utilising skilled and experienced people from around the world.“
Nr 22: Nicht mehr Herr in der eigenen EbAV
„We do not agree that to avoid potential conflicts of interest, the internal audit, risk management and actuarial functions of the pension fund must be separated between the employer and the pension fund.
In addition, for some medium-sized and smaller pension funds it may not be practical or cost-effective to set up such functions internally.“
Nr. 23: Teurer als gedacht
„The Commission's impact assessment states that the governance requirements will add an increased one-off adjustment cost of around €22 per member, and a somewhat higher recurrent burden of around €0.27 to 0.80 per member per year. In the UK for example, this would equate to £328 million to implement and £7.5 million a year to run. This costing is a major underestimate. The figures used did not count those pension scheme members who have retired and are drawing their pension, as the Commission's estimation was only for those deferred and active members of a pension scheme. Consequently the cost of these requirements would be significantly higher.“
Nr. 30: Cross-border fully funded
„Unfortunately the most crucial change of removing the requirement for pension funds which provide services cross-border to be fully-funded is not part of the proposals. This is all the more surprising as it is noted in the Commission's impact assessment as one of the important prudential barriers restricting cross-border operation of IORPs.“
Nr. 33-43: Schreibkram
„The proposal prescribes a 2-page Pension Benefit Statement (PBS) whilst including 7 pages of information requirements. This combination is not feasible.
Many of the information elements currently are ruled by social and labour law, this creates confusion.“
Conclusion: Zuviel FDL, zu wenig Sozialpartner, zu teuer, zu entmutigend
We have strong concerns that the specific characteristics of occupational pensions provided by pension funds are neglected in the proposals, through the financial market and consumer products approach. There is not adequate recognition of the social nature of such pensions, through provision by an employer to its employees or by social partners, in line with applicable social and labour law. This unfortunately creates a fundamental bias throughout the proposals.
We are seriously concerned that they are far too detailed for a directive which should set EU level minimum standards. We are also extremely concerned that although the proposal does not include quantitative solvency requirements, some elements could lead to this in the future. Despite employer's continued commitment, all this is likely to make occupational pension provision too expensive for employers, rather than further encouraging it.“
Fazit: Nicht aus den Augen verlieren
Das Positionspapier der BusinessEurope mit seinen 44, sich zuweilen leicht überschneidenden Kritikpunkten trifft nicht nur vieler Nägel Köpfe, sondern ist auch eine gute und hilfreiche Übersicht über all die Baustellen, die alle Beteiligten bei der Weiterarbeit an der neuen Pensionsfondsrichtlinie nicht aus den Augen verlieren sollten. Wer eine Checkliste sucht, was im weiteren Verlauf aus Sicht der Arbeitgeber und der EbAV nicht übersehen werden sollte, wird hier fündig.