EU insurers’ capital charges may be cut to boost loans
Reuters recently reported that capital charges for insurers in the European Union could be cut to encourage lending for long-term projects and help boost the flagging economy. The news agency was reporting on an announcement by the bloc’s executive body in a highprofile policy shift.
The European Commission has written to the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) to look at cutting the amount of capital that insurers must set aside to cover some types of investments. “European insurers are a potentially powerful financing channel for long-term investment in growth- and job-enhancing areas,” says Jonathan Faull, head of the commission’s internal market unit in a letter published on the executive body’s website.
Banks welcomed the review, saying lower capital charges for insurers would help kick-start securitisation. Cash-strapped governments have pinned their hopes on the insurance sector to fund long-term economic development, as banks curtail their lending for big projects in response to tighter bank capital rules.
France still property investment hot spot
According to the latest overseas property hot spot report, compiled by Conti Financial Services, France is still the number one choice for Britons buying property abroad. Investmentinternational. com reported that for the fourth consecutive year, France has topped the list, accounting for 45 per cent of mortgage enquiries received so far this year. This is the country’s biggest share achieved to date, compared to the 39 per cent last year, and just 15 per cent back in 2008. Spain came in second with 33 per cent of enquiries, thanks to excellent buying conditions and signs that the market is starting to bottom out.
Portugal, accounting for 10 per cent of enquiries, is in third position for the second year running. Although its share is down by two per cent on last year, interest has picked up again over the past three months as falling property prices entice buyers back. Turkey, Italy, USA, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Ireland make up the rest of the top 10 list.
Clare Nessling, Conti’s operations director, says, “Buyers have increasingly been sticking to locations they know and trust, which is why France and Spain are out on their own at the moment and Portugal is starting to rise in popularity again, too.”