The European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) was established in consequence of the reforms to the structure of supervision of the financial sector in the European Union. The reform was initiated by the European Commission, following the recommendations of a Committee of Wise Men, chaired by Mr. de Larosière, and supported by the European Council and Parliament.
Before and during the financial crisis in 2007 and 2008, the European Parliament has called for a move towards more integrated European supervision in order to ensure a true level playing field for all actors at the level of the European Union and to reflect the increasing integration of financial markets in the Union. As a result, the supervisory framework was strengthened to reduce risk and severity of future financial crises. EIOPA is part of a European System of Financial Supervisors that comprises three European Supervisory Authorities, one for the banking sector, one for the securities sector and one for the insurance and occupational pensions sector, as well as the European Systemic Risk Board.
Missions and tasks
EIOPA's main goals are:
EIOPA's core responsibilities are to support the stability of the financial system, transparency of markets and financial products as well as the protection of policyholders, pension scheme members and beneficiaries. EIOPA is commissioned to monitor and identify trends, potential risks and vulnerabilities stemming from the micro-prudential level, across borders and across sectors.
EIOPA is an independent advisory body to the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the European Commission.
To account for the specific conditions in national markets and nature of financial institutions, the European System of Financial Supervision is an integrated network of national and European supervisory authorities, that provides the necessary links between the macro and micro prudential levels, leaving day-to-day supervision to the national level. EIOPA is governed by its Board of Supervisors, which integrates the relevant national authorities in the field of insurance and occupational pensions in each Member State. The European Union's national supervisory authorities are a source of expertise and information about insurance and occupational pensions matters.
Budget & accounts
The financial regulation and its implementing rules, applicable to the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority, form the basis for the Authority's budget implementation and financial management. The initial and amended budgets provide information on the approved budget for one financial year, while the final accounts of the Authority provide information on the financial performance of the Authority in the concerned financial year.
Regulation & Supervision
EIOPA contributes to the establishment of high-quality common regulatory and supervisory standards and practices.
Development of a single rule book for insurance and pensions in the EU. EIOPA is empowered to draft regulatory and implementing technical standards, develop guidelines, recommendations and provide opinions to the EU institutions on the relevant European legislative acts.
Promoting convergence of supervisory procedures and approaches throughout the EU. For this purposes EIOPA uses a number of tools: work of colleges of supervisors, peer reviews, supervisory handbook, organisation of trainings and seminars.
Financial stability & crisis prevention
In order to safeguard financial stability, EIOPA identifies, monitors and assesses trends, potential risks and vulnerabilities stemming from the micro-prudential level, across borders and across sectors in the area of its competence. Furthermore, the Authority conducts economic analyses of the markets and the impact of potential market developments. EIOPA regularly and if necessary on an ad-hoc basis informs about its findings the EU institutions, other European Supervisory Authorities and the European Systemic Risk Board.
One of EIOPA's key responsibilities is to ensure coordinated crisis prevention and management, as well as to preserve financial stability in crisis situations. EIOPA views this responsibility as an integral part of ongoing supervisory activities and an important means of ensuring policyholder protection.
Consumer protection is in the 'DNA' of EIOPA.
EIOPA wants to make sure that all the activities under its remit will make a tangible difference to consumers.
The Authority is committed to clearly improve and enhance the position of consumers and raise awareness of their rights and obligations; to establish best practices for consumer protection and encourage transparency in the way products and services reach the market.
Furthermore, EIOPA contributes to the achievement of a coordinated approach to the regulatory and supervisory treatment of new or innovative financial activities.
In compliance with the powers granted to EIOPA by the European law, the Authority is playing an active role in the field of international insurance and occupational pensions.
The Authority develops contacts and enters into administrative arrangements with supervisory authorities, international organisations and administrations of third countries.
An important goal of EIOPA is to guarantee a level playing field for all market participants. To achieve this, equivalence and compatibility of the different regulatory and supervisory regimes play a key role.