The proposal for a revised EU law on workplace pension funds was passed by the European Parliament today.The final draft of a new Institutions for Occupational Retirement Provision (IORP) Directive was passed by 512 votes to 77, with 40 abstentions.A statement from the European Parliament suggested IORP II covered some 125,000 occupational pension funds with assets worth €2.5trn on behalf of around 75m Europeans, around 20% of the workforce.The Council of the EU has to approve the new legislation, which is expected to be published officially in early 2017. Member states will have 24 months to transpose it after it enters into force shortly after its official publication.Brian Hayes, the Irish MEP who steered the legislation through the European Parliament, said: “We have achieved the right balance between respecting the differences between member states’ pension systems while also encouraging pension mobility.“This is a good day for European pensioners, as we have brought more protection, more transparency and more security to how occupational pension funds are managed.”The new directive does not include EU-wide solvency requirements, which was welcomed by a nine-strong a group of employer, worker and industry representatives in advance of the vote in parliament.PensionsEurope and the European Fund and Asset Management Association (Efama) are among those putting their name to the statement. The parliamentary passage of IORP II has been welcomed by responsible investment organisations such as the UN-backed PRI and ShareAction.The latter, a campaign organisation, described the vote as “a landmark moment for responsible investment in Europe” given requirements on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues in the Directive.It called on the UK government to commit to transposing the legislation, in particular the sections on ESG, transparency and members’ right to information, despite the June vote for the country to leave the European Union.Prime minister Theresa May has said the government will trigger the formal separation process by the end of March.There is a two-year timeframe for negotiations, which suggests the deadline for transposing the IORP II Directive could lapse before the end of negotiations. In July, the now former pensions minister Ros Altmann said the UK was likely to adopt IORP II given the timeline for leaving the EU.The trade body for the European insurance industry has raised some concerns with the revised directive.
Press Association Swansea manager Alan Curtis has denied Jonjo Shelvey was forced out of the club. The 23-year-old signed a four-year contract in the summer but he failed to regain his place after suspension for what proved to be Monk’s final game against Leicester. Shelvey said he had wondered what was going on as he had “played for England four weeks ago”, but Curtis said his omission might have been for “all sorts of reasons”. “More often than not Jonjo has been a regular in the side since he’s been here and in the last couple of months that’s not always been the case,” Curtis said. “I’ve always said that our form and Jonjo’s form probably went hand in hand. “We’ve had a disappointing season and I think, hand on heart, Jonjo would say that he’s probably had a disappointing season as well. “I can’t remember the circumstances of the (Leicester) game, but if Jonjo wasn’t in the starting 11 that could have been for all sorts of reasons. “I’ve stated in the past, quite recently, that I wanted him to stay. “He wasn’t in the team, but he was always going to get an opportunity to get back and from there it would have been up to him.” Swansea have been linked to former player Jonathan de Guzman in this month’s transfer window, the Dutch international midfielder having played over 90 games in two seasons on loan at the club before joining Serie A giants Napoli in 2014. “He’s a player we know and it probably makes sense to bring someone like him,” said Curtis amid reports of Swansea also being linked to Scott Sinclair, another former player now at Aston Villa, and Roma’s Ivory Coast striker Seydou Doumbia. “I’ve said all along we need to spruce the squad up and there’s a lot going on at the moment behind the scenes.” But Curtis said: “I don’t see how he can direct any criticism towards the club. “Obviously, there was a little bit of trouble between Jonjo and a small section of supporters. “But even during the (FA Cup) game last Sunday at Oxford a lot of the crowd were cheering his name. “I think the criticism at the end was probably a reaction to the performance of the team as much as Jonjo’s performance. “He certainly wasn’t hounded out of the club in any way. “It was just a case of Jonjo wanting to play first-team football and in the end it was probably a good deal for both parties. “The money was good and it was probably good for Jonjo to move, it was in the interest of both parties for him to have a fresh start.” Shelvey lost his first-team place before Curtis succeeded Garry Monk at the start of December. England midfielder Shelvey completed a £12million move to Newcastle on Tuesday after starting only one Barclays Premier League game for Swansea since the end of November. Speaking in an interview with BBC Newcastle on Friday, Shelvey accused Swansea fans of jumping on his back and claimed he was ‘hung out to dry’ during the final weeks of his two-and-a-half-year stay at the Liberty Stadium. read more