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Our mission is to protect the public interest by contributing to the short, medium and long-term stability and effectiveness of the financial system for the European Union economy, its citizens and its businesses.
We are doing this by promoting a sound regulatory framework and consistent supervisory practices to protect the rights of policyholders, pension scheme members and beneficiaries, thus contributing to public confidence in the European Union’s insurance and occupational pensions sectors.
The year 2011 was a challenging one. We had to establish our structure, recruit new staff and put together our internal rules, processes and procedures. Despite the challenges, we were able to deliver a very ambitious programme of measures, covering all areas assigned to the Authority by the EIOPA Regulation.
On the regulatory front, we launched a number of important public consultations to facilitate insurance undertakings’ preparatory work for Solvency II in areas such as Own Risk and Solvency Assessment (ORSA) and supervisory reporting and public disclosure. In addition, we put out to public consultation EIOPA’s advice to the European Commission on the review of the directive on the activities and supervision of institutions for occupational retirement provision (IORP Directive), setting the scene for improving risk‑based supervision in the IORP sector.
In the area of consumer protection and financial innovation, we launched public consultations on a good practices report analysing issues related to the sale of variable annuities and required disclosures, and also on a set of guidelines and a best practices report on the handling of complaints by insurance undertakings. We also published a report on financial literacy and education initiatives by competent authorities. On the supervisory side, we made our participation in the Colleges of Supervisors a priority; we contributed to more consistent practice, set out an annual action plan and monitored its implementation.
EIOPA was also active in the area of financial stability. The Authority assessed the resilience of the EU insurance sector to major shocks through the EU-wide stress test exercise and contributed to the discussions and analysis of the European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB).
On the international front, we provided final advice to the European Commission on the Solvency II equivalence assessment of the Swiss, Bermudan and Japanese supervisory systems, and by playing an active part in the work of the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS), we started contributing to the development of robust international supervisory standards.
Of major importance was EIOPA’s involvement with the Insurance and Reinsurance Stakeholder Group and the Occupational Pensions Stakeholder Group. The exchange of views among and the opinions from the Stakeholder Groups were essential for the progress of EIOPA’s activities.
I am convinced that in a few years’ time the setting up of the European Supervisory Authorities will be recognised as one of the most fundamental reforms in the European financial sector issuing from the financial crisis. The potential benefits from the creation of a single rule book are enormous, both for the industry and for consumers.
Furthermore, I believe that the convergence of supervisory practices is as important as the single rule book. By ensuring that day-to-day supervisory oversight of financial institutions is done within a consistent framework, we can effectively contribute to an increased level of protection of policyholders and beneficiaries in the European Union. The single market requires it, and EIOPA is committed to deliver it.
As Jean Monnet once said, ‘Cooperation between nations, while essential, cannot alone meet our problem. What must be sought is a fusion of the interests of the European peoples and not merely another effort tomaintain the equilibrium of those interests’.
Our vision is to build EIOPA as a modern, competent and professional organisation, working independently,effectively and efficiently towards the creation of a common European supervisory culture.
I want to thank all EIOPA members and their staff for their efforts towards this goal. The continuouscommitment and cooperation of the members of the Board of Supervisors and Management Board was ofthe utmost importance in fulfilling our mission and vision.
The most significant element in EIOPA’s success is our people. It is their knowledge, experience anddedication that allow us to fulfil our mandate and respond to an increasingly demanding environment. Mysincere thanks to all EIOPA employees for their hard work and continuous commitment to our values ofindependence, responsibility, integrity, transparency, efficiency and team spirit.
Together, we will build a truly European supervisory culture; a culture that promotes stability, enhancestransparency and fosters consumer protection.