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.
Photo: Oceania Rugby Fiji celebrate winning the 2016 Oceania 7’s title The men’s and women’s tournaments were hosted at ANZ Stadium in Suva last December and will both return to the Fijian capital until at least 2019.A record 21 teams are set to contest the 2017 Championships, including 13 men’s teams and eight women’s sides.New Zealand will also enter teams in both the men’s and women’s competition for the first time in three years.The Minister for Youth and Sports, Laisenia Bale Tuitubou, said the Fiji Government was delighted to secure hosting rights for another three years.”We see this as building on the outstanding success of our rugby teams in the Olympic Games last year and supporting the bid by the FRU (Fiji Rugby Union) to host a leg of the Sevens Series here on our doorstep,” he said.”We hope that home ground advantage will help our teams out-perform all our visitors, including the defending Olympic women’s rugby champions”.Fiji Rugby Union CEO John O’Connor thanked the Fiji Government for its support and said hosting the Oceania event will boost the country’s chances of hosting a World Series leg in the future.”With FRU’s announcement that it will be bidding for a leg of the HSBC World Sevens from 2020, the Oceania Rugby Sevens Championship will give our country a great opportunity to build our hosting credentials over the next three years,” he said.”And our players will relish the chance to compete against world class teams in front of a home crowd.”The tournament will be held in early November, a month before the start of the new World Sevens Series in Dubai.