On November 13, an important provisional agreement was reached in Brussels on the EU’s flagship regulation of insurance companies – Solvency II. As part of the package the EU appears to have reassessed the way it approached the question of regulating EU insurers operating in third countries – especially the US. A tough line on demanding regulatory ‘equivalence’ from foreign jurisdictions has been softened, and a vaguer target of ‘regulatory convergence’ set. The last minute pragmatism – mainly at the hands of the European Parliament – is a reflection of the limits of Europe’s ability to export its own financial regulatory standards to other developed markets. With the EU-US TTIP on the horizon, it also says something about the trade-offs European regulators may have to strike between Europe’s desire to export its standards, and its desire to export its services.
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