On 22 November 2011 the European Commission (the “Commission”) wrote to the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (“EIOPA”) thanking them for their assessments on the equivalence of the Swiss, Bermudan and Japanese solvency and prudential regimes. The letter can be accessed here.
The Commission commended “the quality of EIOPA’s reports” and welcomed EIOPA’s commitment to revisit the reports once the final level 2 implementing measures have been agreed in order to verify whether any amendments are needed, and to consider, at the same time, whether any changes made to the regimes in the relevant countries affect the conclusions in their initial reports.
The Commission commented that it expects its decision on the equivalence of the countries will be made during the first half of 2013.
The Commission went on to state what it saw EIOPA’s role to be in relation to transitional measures for Solvency II equivalence, being:
- carrying out an assessment of whether persons working for, or on behalf of, the supervisory authorities are bound by obligations of professional secrecy equivalent to those under Solvency II; and
- identifying the areas where the third country supervisory regime does not meet the equivalence criteria at present (here, the Commission only expects a high level analysis, to include steps that would need to be taken by the third country supervisory regime in order for the equivalence criteria to be met).
The Commission has identified 16 third countries that are potential candidates for a transitional regime and, once they have gauged their interest in being part of such a regime, will provide EIOPA with a final list of third countries for which assessments should be carried out. This list is expected by the end of January 2012, and the Commission will require assessments to be completed by the end of 2012.