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Approval of ISPVs could spur applications in the U.K.


LONDON—The Financial Services Authority, the United Kingdom's insurance supervisor is to start accepting applications for insurance special purpose vehicles from November, following approval of proposals to make ISPVs more attractive.

In June, the regulator issued a consultation document in which it set out its proposals to make the United Kingdom an attractive domicile for ISPVs. These included a streamlined authorization process and simplified solvency rules.

ISPVs are typically used to issue catastrophe bonds or as sidecars. Usually located in tax-efficient offshore domiciles such as Bermuda and Dublin, ISPVs allow capital market investors to offer insurers addition reinsurance capacity.

The FSA board has now made the rules that will permit ISPVs to be used by insurers for the December 31, 2006 year-end. Following the FSA board's decision, the regulator will accept completed applications for ISPVs from November 6, 2006. The fee for ISPV applications is £5,000.

"Firms that wish to take advantage of an ISPV to reduce their regulatory capital requirements by transferring risks to the ISPV will need to apply to the FSA for a waiver in order to do so" the supervisor said in a statement.

In June, Thomas Huertas, FSA director for wholesale firms, said: "The implementation of the Reinsurance Directive (2005/68/EC) gives the FSA an opportunity to make the United Kingdom an easier place for insurers to do business in. Introducing ISPVs will give insurers and reinsurers access to more diverse sources of capital and enable them to manage their capital more efficiently."