Government “resolute” on opposition to Solvency II rules for pensions schemes
by Gill Montia
The Government remains resolute in its opposition to EU plans to apply Solvency II funding rules to UK pensions, according to pensions minister, Steve Webb.
Returning from a meeting with pensions experts in the Netherlands and Denmark, the minister announced that there is no “one size fits all” model for pensions across the EU and that he has made his opinion clear to the European Commission.
The Commission is apparently listening and has just announced an extension to its timetable but the prolonged uncertainty leaves UK pension schemes unsure about their long-term investment strategies.
If Solvency II rules were imposed, they would affect all private sector companies offering defined benefit (DB) schemes and Mr Webb is demanding that the Commission publish a comprehensive impact assessment that would expose the “catastrophic effect” these rules would have on British pension schemes.
Currently, DB schemes in Britain represent around half the private pension assets in this country, with liabilities of about £1,200 billion.