Oversight authority fines NN Pensii, withdraws authorisation from CEO

The board of the Financial Oversight Authority (ASF) has fined NN Pensii pension company 1 percent of its share capital, namely 750,000 lei, for having sent an e-mail to its costumers alleging that public talks had been held about Romania's privately-managed pension plan being nationalised, ASF Deputy Chairman Ion Giurescu said Thursday.

'Following the statements released by NN on April 11 to the fund's contributors, we decided yesterday [Wednesday] to hold a hearing of the NN Fund administration board made up of three people: Marius Popescu, Raluca Tintoiu and Madalina Ecaterina Ducan. Raluca Tintoiu is also the manager of NN Pensii. Only two of the three showed up, as Marius Daniel Popescu was on leave.

Given the generated circumstances that threaten to negatively affect the contributors' confidence in Romania's private pension funds, the ASF board has decided to fine NN Pensii one percent of its share capital, which means 750,000 lei, ' said Giurescu (1 euro = 4.5 lei).

At the same time, a decision was made to strip CEO Raluca Tintoiu of legal authorisation and fine her 100,000 lei.

Giurescu went on to say that this is the highest fine in the history of ASF, but the highest in the history of Pillar II pension was 360,000 euros slapped again on the same company for an outsourcing contract at the beginning of the pension system.

Asked for his take on similar statements on the same topic by BCR Pensii CEO Radu Craciun on his blog, Giurescu said the situation is not the same, because those statements were made personally without being submitted to the customers. Nevertheless, ASF will inspect BCR Pensii in the period immediately ahead.

Asked whether the fine on NN Pensii is the result of political remarks on Wednesday, Giurescu said the decision to hear NN Pensii representatives had been made around noon on Wednesday and had nothing to do with political remarks.

He also said that in his 11 years in the business, there has never been talk of nationalising the privately-managed Pillar II pension plans.

About NN Pensii challenging the fine, Giurescu said that ASF has so far lost no lawsuit.

On the other hand, Giurescu mentioned that the fine will have no impact on the company's investments.

NN Pensii on Tuesday send an e-mail to its customers informing them that talks had been going on in the public space of an alleged intention to nationalise the privately-managed pension funds, recommending them to keep themselves abreast of what happens to their pensions.

Finance Minister Viorel Stefan replied that the rumours about the privatisation of the Pillar II pension funds were groundless, adding that there is no political, economic, financial or budgetary reason to justify such decision.

Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies Liviu Dragnea said Wednesday that the scandal over the NN e-mail is a faux started by Chairman of the Financial Oversight Authority (ASF) Misu Negritoiu, arguing that the Romanian Government should ask the Dutch Embassy and the NN Pensii parent company ING for explanations. 

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