On April 13, 2016, the European Securities and Markets Authority published Opinions, dated April 7, 2016, on certain Denmark-based pension schemes that are to be exempted from the clearing obligation under the European Market Infrastructure Regulation. The Opinions were requested by Finanstilsynet and relate to three different kinds of pension schemes, Life insurer occupational schemes, Labour market related life insurer and Multi employer pension fund. Transitional exemptions from the clearing obligation can be granted to pension scheme arrangements that meet certain criteria, essentially, when OTC derivatives contracts are entered into and are used for hedging purposes. To obtain an exemption, requests must be made by the pension scheme to a national regulator. Under EMIR, the national regulator must seek an Opinion from ESMA before making a final exemption decision. ESMA, in turn, must consult with the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority before issuing its Opinion. This follows the extension of the transitional exemption period for pension funds from the clearing obligation to August 16, 2017 which is the revised date by which pension funds must comply with the EU clearing obligation under EMIR.

ESMA’s Opinions are available at: https://www.esma.europa.eu/press-news/esma-news/esma-issues-opinions-dkpension-schemes-be-exempt-central-clearing-under-emir