The PRA was very busy yesterday:

  • Its practitioner panel met for the first time to elect its Chair and Deputy Chair, and agree its terms of reference. (Martin Gilbert (CEO of Aberdeen Asset Management) was elected Chair; and Brian McCrory (Director of Belfast Teachers Credit Union) was elected Deputy Chair. The panel also includes: Andy Briggs (Group Chief Executive, Friends Life Group); Bronek Masojada (Chief Executive, Hiscox); and Clare Bousfield (Chief Financial Officer, Aegon UK) (its news release is here);
  • It published a final Supervisory Statement “SS 4/13: Solvency II: applying EIOPA’s preparatory guidelines to PRA-authorised firms” (our blog is here); and
  • It hosted a Solvency II industry briefing, at which Julian Adams (the PRA’s deputy head, and its executive director of insurance) delivered a speech: “Solvency II – a turning point” (available here).

Adams delivered his speech in friendly enough terms, but the message was forceful and unapologetic: Solvency II will begin on 1 January 2016; “we and firms will need to step up our work to have everything in place to be truly ready”; and “It is now time to reassess priorities and make a concerted push to be able to demonstrate compliance with the new regime two years from now”.

So how did the UK market react? A fair summary would be: “with scepticism”.

Although the trilogue parties told us 4 weeks ago that: they’d settled their differences; Omnibus II would be made in the first quarter of 2014; and firms would be required to comply from 1 January 2016 (subject transitionals – my blog on this point is here); most of the people I’ve spoken to in the London market seem distrustful (“I’ll believe it when I see it”). And Adams “turning point” speech has been met with the same response (“I feel tired just thinking about it”; and “I’m not spending on any money this, until I know it’s real”.

Hoisted by its FSA petard, the PRA may therefore have more work to do than it realises.