* EIOPA follows EU's markets watchdog in publishing guidance
* Progress being made to limit arbitrage -Irish central bank
* Dublin says several firms to announce Brexit moves shortly
(Adds detail, background)
By Padraic Halpin
DUBLIN, May 25 The European Union's insurance
watchdog will publish guidance for national regulators to ensure
they do not undercut one another in their attempts to attract
firms moving from London due to Brexit, its head of policy said
The risk of such arbitrage has crept onto the radar of
politicians and regulators as financial services firms begin to
outline plans to move operations to different member states
following Britain's vote last year to leave the EU.
"EIOPA (European Insurance and Occupational Pensions
Authority) is closely monitoring the developments and will
publish in due course its guidance for national authorities on
sound principles for authorisation and supervision," EIOPA's
head of policy Manuela Zweimuller told a conference.
"We will subsequently closely monitor their implementation."
EIOPA's move follows a similar promise by the European
Securities and Markets Authority, the EU's markets watchdog, to
publish guidelines for national regulators on this issue before
ESMA's chairman has said it has intensively discussed the
potential risks of new "letter box" companies springing up in
the EU delegating key operations to parents in London, and
warned any countries' offering such flexible solutions to
attract business could undermine stability.
Ireland's government, which has so far missed out on two
high profile insurance moves after Lloyd's of London
chose Brussels and AIG picked Luxembourg, has complained
to the European Commission that rival centres were "offering a
back door to the EU's single market" through lax rules.
Speaking in London on Thursday, Lloyd's of London's chief
executive said only 10 to 20 of its staff would be based in
Brussels after it was allowed to delegate activity back to
London and keep a lot of its underwriters and brokers in situ.
A senior regulator at Ireland's central bank, which demands
that any Brexit moves be substantial ones, told the conference
that risks of regulatory differences emerging across the EU were
real, but the bank was "very pleased" with the significant
amount of work being undertaken by the European authorities.
The head of International Financial Services at IDA Ireland,
the state agency that attracts foreign investment, said several
firms, including insurers, had confirmed they had chosen Ireland
and formal announcements would be made from June onwards.
"We're interested in attracting in small firms, especially
in the payments and financial technology area, but then equally
we're talking to some of the largest broker dealers in the
world. We need and want both," Kieran Donoghue told the
(Additional reporting by Carolyn Cohn; Editing by Rachel
Armstrong and Mark Potter)