Saturday, April 21, 2007

War on regulatory arbitrage?

As indicated earlier, some stereotypical anti-competitive reflexes begin to rear their ugly heads in the wake of the open conflict between Belgium and the Netherlands on pensions regulation. The President of DUFAS asks for a war on regulatory arbitrage, which can be translated into war on competition, of course. This brings the Pensions Directive to a critical juncture in its application relatively early on - here's to hope that the Commission will handle this diligently.

One is tempted to refer the Dutch back to the basics of the Cassis de Dijon principle and following jurisdiction. Applied naïvely to IORPs and the Pensions Directive, that principle would entail that the set of regulatory norms (for instance lower solvency) deemed sufficient by one member state's authorities needs to be recognised by every other member state (with the famous exception of measures required for the "effectiveness of fiscas supervision, the protection of public health, the fairness of commercial transactions and the defence of the consumer", of course).

Therefore, regulatory arbitrage is part & parcel of the Pensions Directive. The only alternative is harmonisation of occupational pensions, and that is what member states shied away from at the inception of the Pensions Directive.

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