Bernard Delbecque, senior director at Efama, chaired the last OPSG and will chair the new one for half of its four year termAccording to Bernard Delbecque, chair of the outgoing and new OPSG, during the second to last OPSG’s term the Commission took part in meetings via a 15-20 minute conference call, during which it briefed the OPSG on some aspects of Commission work that related to pensions and responded to questions.To improve matters, in the most recent OPSG he took the initiative to at least have the Commission connected via a video call, Delbecque, who is also senior director at investment management trade body Efama, told IPE.“Still, the OPSG members felt the Commission is such a key player in the area of pensions, and because we know EIOPA and the EC have bilateral contacts, that it would be useful if the Commission could engage a little bit more,” he said.Serious progress, serious effortIn its activity report, the OPSG welcomed that “serious progress” had been made by EIOPA in terms of explaining how it had taken the group’s advice into account, and said that “members trust this will continue under the new OPSG”.Under its revised governing regulation EIOPA now has to make public this information.On the part of the OPSG, the challenge was “to provide sharp and clear advice, well-argued and documented with facts and figures,” the OPSG report said.In his introduction to the report, Delbecque emphasised the “considerable work, real commitment and […] genuine willingness for dialogue” that was required from OPSG members to ensure cooperation within the group and with other stakeholder groups.“In my capacity as chair, I was fortunate that members made serious effort to work together with that in mind,” he wrote.Funded pensions, CMU work desiredHis only regret, Delbecque added, was that the OPSG could not finalise its work on the contribution of funded pensions to retirement income, growth and employment.“This was an ambitious project that led members to discuss systemic issues relating to pension adequacy and sustainability, the financing of pay-as-you-go state pensions, the tax treatment of pensions, the market structure, the ability of private sector pensions to meet the needs of members, and different visions for the future of social protection,” he wrote.“In the end, the OPSG did not have enough time to converge towards a common position on these different topics.”He said he hoped the new OPSG would take up this work, also taking into account the final reports from the High Level Group of Experts on Pensions and the High Level Forum on the Capital Markets Union (CMU).In addition to responding to formal requests for advice from the relevant ESA, stakeholder groups can produce “own initiative” reports. In its activity report, the last OPSG said the pension-related recommendations of the CMU High-Level Forum and its potential impact on EIOPA work in the coming years “should produce a good source of topics for own initiative reports”.#*#*Show Fullscreen*#*# “The possibility that members of the European Parliament read their reports, request some clarifications and raise questions will give a new meaning to their work and place the responsibility of the stakeholder groups and their chairpersons on the line,” the OPSG report said.“Undoubtedly, this will also give the ESAs further reasons to closely associate the stakeholder groups to their work.”The report also expressed a hope that possible interactions between the OPSG and the European Parliament “will convince the European Commission to show more interest in the OPSG work”.“Whilst appreciating the fact that they can raise questions to Commission officials, OPSG members strongly believe that it would be helpful if the Commission could participate in person in OPSG meetings at least once a year,” it said.The reference to participation “in person” expresses a hope that the OPSG will start holding physical meetings again in Frankfurt if safe from a coronavirus perspective. The most recent stakeholder group advising EIOPA on occupational pensions has welcomed the prospect of more attention from the European Parliament and expressed the hope it may lead to more engagement from the European Commission, according to a recently published end-of-mandate report from the group.The report provides an overview of the group’s activity and output during its one-and-a-half year lifetime, which was shorter than it should have been due to a revision of the regulation governing EIOPA on the back of reforms of the European supervisory authorities (ESAs).The new Occupational Pensions Stakeholder Group (OPSG), half of whose 30 members did not sit on the previous group, was appointed last month and will run for four years, a good chunk longer than previous OPSGs.In its activity report, the outgoing OPSG noted that the revision of the EIOPA regulation represented a “significant political step forward” in recognising the role of the stakeholder groups in that it now allows the European Parliament to invite the chair of any such group to come before it. Source: Copyright EIOPA/Martin JoppenThe EIOPA OPSG from 2018-2020Looking for IPE’s latest magazine? Read the digital edition here.
Silverstein stressed his belief that the team won’t be “truly satisfied” until it completes a clean sweep of the season, winning every tournament it enters. The Trojans’ competitions include the Windy City Collegiate Invitational starting at the end of September, Stanford Intercollegiate in October and the Pac-12 Preview in November. The Trojans will play throughout the weekend in a tough competition field that includes No. 10 Pepperdine and No. 2 Arizona State. As for the rest of the season, the men’s team will compete in several tournaments including the Nike Collegiate in Portland, Ore. and the Cypress Point Classic at Pebble Beach. As the men’s team is coming in at No. 11 in the Golf Coaches Association of America’s preseason poll, the expectations will certainly be high for the team at the invite in Scottsdale, Ariz. The starting lineup includes senior Kyle Suppa, junior Issei Tanabe, junior transfer Leon D’Souza, freshman Yuxin Lin and sophomore Charlie Reiter. “[Lin] is playing some really good golf,” Zambri said. “His game looks like he’s ready to make a huge impact right now.” Men’s head coach Chris Zambri and women’s head coach Justin Silverstein said that they placed emphasis on competition amongst the players in the preseason. Both teams held intrasquad competitions where the five strongest performers earned spots in the starting lineup. “It’s a process for sure,” junior Jennifer Chang said. “Obviously we had a great year last year and, you know, we just want to keep it going, keep that momentum.” The men’s golf season begins this weekend as USC hits the road for the Maui Jim Invitational, while the women start off at the Annika Invitational Monday. The Trojans are debuting fresh faces and hoping for successful results at both courses. Zambri also suggested that although Suh’s talent will be missed, the Trojans’ depth may make them a better all-around team this season. According to senior Kyle Suppa, the team’s objective this season is placing well in tournaments to establish a solid ranking for the postseason. “Every tournament our goal is to win,” Suppa said. “That’s our main focus … We have to avoid bad tournaments because that can really hurt our ranking and affect our seeding going into the postseason.” WGCA, Golf Week and Golf Channel all ranked the women’s golf team No. 1 in their preseason polls. Coming off a seven-win season with all ten players returning, Silverstein’s squad is experienced and looking to continue its success. “I think we’re a little deeper this year than we were last year, and so it’s going to be hard for anyone to match the kind of year that Justin had, the kind of career that he had, but everyone clearly is hoping to,” Zambri said. “But even if we weren’t to get that kind of performance out of any one person, in total, I think we have a better team this year. “I think we’re so talented and so deep, that it helps prepare us for the end of the season with the tougher teams,” Silverstein said. As the competition season begins, both the men’s and women’s teams hope to prove that the work they put in during the preseason will show on the course. Their performances this weekend will indicate if the men’s team can recover from the loss of a star player and if the women’s team can maintain its all-star reputation. The women’s team will be heading to Lake Elmo, Minn. to compete in the Annika Invitational Monday. As a past champion of the event, the Trojans will face the top competitors in women’s college golf with No. 6 UCLA, No. 12 Arizona and No. 10 ASU all in the 54-hole stroke play. The starting lineup includes senior Aiko Leong, senior Allisen Corpuz, junior Jennifer Chang, junior Gabriela Ruffels and junior Alyaa Abdulghany. After losing two-time All-American Justin Suh last season, whom Zambri called USC’s best men’s golfer ever, the Trojans will have to find strength in their younger players. The Maui Jim Invitational marks Lin’s first appearance in a college tournament, and Zambri is expecting big things out of the freshman.