Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Omnibus II and the inevitable delay - why it's not so clear cut

Fantastic work over on the Solvency II Wire from Gideon on the meat and potatoes inside the eternally-baking Omnibus II pie, illustrating why the trialogue parties haven't just rolled over and declared 2015 as the new 2014.

While it would appear that the lobbying arms at Insurance Europe, AMICE, GCAE etc haven't piped up on industry preference yet, it looks like we have two deeply unpleasant alternatives to look forward to; hard launching a year late (i.e Omnibus II would only get signed off after the recently requested LTG consultation but 2015 would be the definitive "go-live"), or soft launching with 2 years parallel running (i.e. Omnibus II can go through before the LTG consult is finished, but with the sword of Damocles hanging over its contibution to the regulations until 2016).

My guess would be that there is little appetite in the firms for parallel running Solvency I/Solvency II to 2016 based on the administrative burdens this would currently place on the UK in particular through the current ICA process. A 'hard' 2015 and some more effective leadership in Brussels would be welcome relief to Solvency II Programmes from a planning perspective, though the knock-on effect on the model approval process and other scheduled supervisory work is yet to be seen.

Oddly, the EIOP-ians of the world pushed out the 2013 Work Programme this week which of course skips over any of the practicalities around such a delay - so having "already achieved a great deal" in Solvency II prep, they will "finalise the [53] standards and guidelines" currently required of them, set up an "internal model support expert unit", and "finalise the preparation of the [supervisory] Colleges" - and all of this while Rome burns!

It is a perverse situation when a subject as politically divisive as capital requirements for long term guarantees across the union is not as complex as trying to get three well-briefed parties around a table to agree on an implementation date. At a time when the Commission wants an inflation-busting funding rise (which Parliament have 'ole'd through) and EIOPA have grown in headcount and cost by 50% y-o-y, the alarming regularity with which national self-interest and horse-trading has derailed a project of such significance makes me long for the jingoistic certainty of the Corn Laws - I'm guessing that's not a good thing...

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