PensionsEurope calls for clearing assurance following EMIR delay

first_imgA plenary session of the European ParliamentUnder its proposal, pension schemes’ exemption from mandatory clearing would be extended by two years instead of the Commission’s and Council’s three.The Commission also proposed that an additional two years’ extension be granted if a solution to the problem was “within reach”. The parliament’s proposal was for an additional one-year extension if stakeholders had agreed a solution and needed more time for implementation.The parliament also stated that the next exemption period should be the last. If stakeholders had not agreed a solution, the Commission would need to propose a binding one, but it should not be another exemption.The prospect of a legal gap arising was acknowledged in the parliament’s proposal for amendments to EMIR, as it stated that the exemption from clearing for pension schemes should apply retroactively to all over-the-counter derivative contracts executed after 16 August.“The retroactive application of this provision is necessary to avoid a gap between the end of the application of the existing exemption and the new exemption, since both serve the same purpose,” said the proposal.The solution questEMIR requires central counterparties and their clients to hold cash as collateral for the derivative contracts being traded. However, pension schemes – which use derivatives for hedging strategies and liability matching – prefer not to hold large allocations to cash because this eats into returns.When EMIR was first introduced it was hoped that an exemption from central clearing for pension funds would allow the clearing houses and schemes to come up with a solution, but this has yet to materialise.Last year Commission vice-president Valdis Dombrovskis, responsible for financial stability, financial services and the Capital Markets Union, began organising meetings to bring together central counterparties, pension funds, central banks and investment banks in an attempt to find a solution.According to PensionsEurope’s Verstegen, the solution in the pension investors’ eyes is based on the central repurchase (repo) market, but with central banks acting as a liquidity backstop. The EU’s three bodies are due to commence negotiations on a proposal from the European Commission to amend aspects of EMIR. The Commission tabled this in May 2017 after a “regulatory fitness and performance” check of the regulation.Negotiations between the Commission, the European Parliament and the EU council, the body for member states, could have started sooner but the parliament’s economic and monetary affairs committee decided to have the matter voted on in the plenary rather than going straight to the “trilogue” negotiations. Parliament adopts tougher proposal The EU council adopted its position in December, endorsing the Commission’s proposal, but the European Parliament has taken a tougher stance. European pension schemes could be faced with a legal gap surrounding the obligation to clear certain derivatives after their current exemption from the rule expires in August.PensionsEurope has called for regulators to make clear that the obligation will not be enforced for pension funds if amendments to the European Markets Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR) are not effective until after the exemption runs out on 16 August.Matthies Verstegen, senior policy adviser at the trade association, said an agreement between the EU’s law-making institutions could be reached relatively quickly, but it was now impossible for it to be in force by August.“We hope co-legislators find an agreement as soon as possible,” he added.last_img read more

Theft suspect surrenders

first_imgShe was detained in the lockup cell ofthe Oton police station. It was not immediately clear as of thiswriting if the suspect has posted bail./PN ILOILO City – A 37-year-old woman hasturned herself in to the police. The suspect went to the police stationwhen she learned that a warrant of arrest has been issued against her, thereport added.center_img The court recommended a P6,000 bail bondfor her temporary liberty. Richelle Garote of Barangay Alegre,Oton, Iloilo has been wanted for theft charges, a police report showed.last_img

Spanish research gets a nice budget boost—but scientists say it will be

first_img Spanish research gets a nice budget boost—but scientists say it will be of little help Javier Lizon/EFE/Newscom Scientists test a satellite named Deimos-2 at the National Aerospace Technology Institute in Madrid in 2013. The institute gets a 34% increase in the government’s 2018 budget. By Elisabeth PainApr. 10, 2018 , 3:50 PM BARCELONA, SPAIN—The Spanish government has announced plans to raise the country’s overall public R&D budget by 8.3% in 2018, from €6.5 billion to €7 billion—the biggest hike since the economic crisis hit Spain in 2008. But science advocates aren’t exactly overjoyed. The raise sounds far better than it is because more than half of the government’s budget is reserved for R&D loans to companies, and more and more of the money for public research centers and scientists can’t be used because of byzantine accounting rules.The proposed budget, presented in a bill on 3 April, represents “a small increase [for researchers], and this is good,” says Luis Serrano, director of the Center for Genomic Regulation (CRG) here. But “the big problem … is a whole series of things that hamper our ability to do our work with what we have.” Part of the Spanish scientific community will present an online petition signed by more than 277,000 people about the problems in science to parliament tomorrow.The Spanish community has learned there is usually a catch when it comes to the budget. A preliminary analysis published yesterday by the Confederation of Spanish Scientific Societies (COSCE) here shows that out of the overall €7 billion announced, only €2.8 billion—up from last year’s €2.6 billion—will feed the public research system with funding for research centers, competitive calls for research projects and scholarships, and support to infrastructure. The remaining 60% will essentially be loans for industrial R&D, even though few companies ever apply for them. (Many scientists have decried the loans as a political maneuver aimed at inflating the budget.) In 2017, more than €3.2 billion in promised science funding, most of it loans, was left unspent, COSCE says. Emailcenter_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! 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Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Military research got a much higher boost than civilian research. Among the national research organizations, the biggest winner is the National Aerospace Technology Institute in Madrid, overseen by the defense ministry, which gets a 34% increase. Others do less well: The Research Centre for Energy, Environment, and Technology and the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) get only 3.6% and 1.0% more, respectively, whereas institutes for research in agriculture and mining see their budget slightly decrease. The budgets “are perpetuating a policy of asphyxia of the public research sector,” says Alicia Durán, a physics professor at the CSIC Institute of Ceramics and Glass in Madrid who is also a trade union representative.And that’s not the only problem. Laws and regulations introduced in recent years to curb deficits and corruption in the public sector, in part under EU pressure, have led to Kafkaesque administrative and financial constraints for universities and research centers. For example, all public bodies that want to buy more than €15,000 in products or services must now issue tenders; for CRG that translates into more than 200 public calls a year, which is “administratively impossible,” Serrano says. National research organizations must also get approval from state auditors before spending money, even if it comes from outside Spain, which has severely delayed research projects and recruitment. “We have reached a situation of practical paralysis of centers and installations that, even when they have the resources, are not able to spend them,” Durán says.Last month, COSCE and several other organizations went to parliament to present a series of demands; tomorrow, the newly founded Spanish Association for the Advancement of Science, the Federation of Young Investigators, and several grassroots associations will present lawmakers with a petition launched by Durán and others in February that decries the “abandoning of science.” They will ask for research funding to go back to precrisis levels by 2020 and a relaxation of the accounting rules.Whether the budget bill, set for a vote in late May, will win a parliamentary majority is unclear. The ruling Popular Party doesn’t have enough seats and will need to find additional votes. That also offers chances, because other parties are more aware of the importance of science, says COSCE President Nazario Martín. In 2013, protesting scientists had to tape their letter to the gates of the ministry overseeing science; that they’re now able to hand it over signifies “a much more responsible attitude from the political class,” Martín says. The time to for Spain to become a knowledge-based economy is “now or never,” Martín says.last_img read more