Dutch Pension Federation ‘disappointed’ at ESAs' statement on SFDR

The Dutch Pension Federation has said it is “disappointed” with a statement issued by the European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs) on the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR).

The ESAs said the statement, published 25 February, aims to achieve an effective and consistent application and national supervision of the SFDR, promoting a level playing field and protecting investors. The ESAs consist of the European Banking Authority (EBA), the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) and the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA).

The three ESAs recommend the draft regulatory technical standards (RTS) be used as a reference when applying the provisions of the SFDR in the interim period between the application of SFDR (as of 10 March 2021) and the application of the RTS at a later date.

However, the Dutch Pension Federation noted that the ESAs believe the RTS is not expected to enter into force until 1 January 2022.

“The Pension Federation is disappointed that the statement does not encourage discretion in the supervision of the SFDR. The long-standing lack of clarity about the content and entry into force of the RTS has made the implementation process for pension funds more difficult,” the federation said in a statement.

“In addition, the delay of the RTS creates a double implementation burden. In a letter to the European Commission, the European supervisors have also asked for further clarification of key terms and the answer is yet to follow. These circumstances make it very difficult for pension funds to meet all obligations on time. Moreover, the Pension Federation notes that the lack of clarity leads to differences in the interpretation of the SFDR.”

The ESAs encouraged national competent authorities to refer financial market participants and financial advisers to the requirements set out in the draft RTS of the final report that has been submitted to the European Commission.

The European Commission is required to endorse the RTS within three months of their publication. Subject to the non-objection by the European Parliament and Council of the European Union, within three months following the commission’s endorsement, the RTS will be adopted by the commission by means of a delegated regulation.

In March, the ESAs will publish a consultation paper on taxonomy-related product disclosures under the Taxonomy Regulation, which amends the empowerments in Articles 8(4), 9(6) and 11(5) of the SFDR.

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