Sunday, 21 November 2021

Regulator: Croatia’s Insurance Market Increases by Mere 0.1% in 2020

ZAGREB, 21 Nov, 2021 - The insurance market in Croatia in 2020 with total gross premiums of HRK 10.68 billion (€1.4 billion) written by insurers, slightly increased by HRK 12.9 million (€1.72 million) or 0.1% year on year, the Croatian Competition Agency (AZTN) reported on Friday.

"Compared to 2019 when they amounted to just over HRK 10.66 billion, in 2020 a stagnation in gross premiums was registered. When a precise analysis is conducted, only a symbolic growth of HRK 12.9 million was registered in gross premiums written or by a mere 0.1%" AZTN said following a survey which indicated that 15 insurance companies did business on the domestic market,  tweo fewer than the year before.

For the sake of comparison, in 2019 insurance companies registered an increase in gross premiums of 6.5% year-on-year, AZTN noted whose survey is based on publicly released data by the Croatian Insurance Bureau (HUO) and the Croatian Financial Services Supervisory Agency (HANFA).

The largest market share, of 25.1%, was held by Croatia Osiguranje.

It was followed by Euroherc, which along with Adriatic Osiguranje and Agram Life, are part of the Agram conncern. Together they account for 25.6% of the market with a growing trend. In 2019 they accounted for 23% of the market.

Allianz Hrvatska ranked third, accounting for 10.7% of the market. The Wiener Osiguranje VIG with a share of 9% and Generali with 7.3% of the market follow.

In 2020 a  total of seven insurance companies registered an increase in written gross premiums on the year, including two companies that do business via their branch offices Sava Osiguranje and Adriatic Slovenica.

That is considerably less compared with 2019 when there were as many as 14 insurance companies on the market.

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Wednesday, 15 September 2021

HANFA Board Chair: Second Pension Pillar Contributes to Pensioner Status

ZAGREB, 15 Sept, 2021 - Abolishing the second pension pillar could, in the long run, result in higher public expenditure for pensions and a lower standard for pensioners, the Croatian Financial Services Supervisory Agency's board chairman, Ante Žigman, said on Wednesday. 

Addressing a conference, organised by the Hanza Media company on pensions, Žigman said that the pension reform was the biggest economic reform in Croatia's recent history and that it had been lasting for 20 years and had shown huge resilience, while being supported by both left and right governments.

He underscored that at the end of August the net assets of the mandatory pension funds (OMF) amounted to HRK 128 billion, an increase of almost HRK 9 billion compared to 2020. One-third of that is from payments while two-thirds of that amount is from yields.

He recalled that a lot of European countries had launched pension reforms twenty years ago but only Croatia and Bulgaria have managed to maintain the established system whereas in other countries significant amendments to reforms have been made due to the negative consequences of the global financial crisis.

A European Commission analysis on the future of pension systems to 2070 indicated that the gap between pension costs and contribution paid in will widen in those countries that abolished the second pillar.

In Croatia, the share of public costs for pensions in GDP should increase until 2030 and after that, it should begin to decrease, he said.

"The results without a doubt indicate that keeping the second pillar and combined pension allowances from the first and second pillar certainly contribute to a better status for pension recipients and lower public expenditure for pensions," Žigman underscored.

Aladrović: Demographic challenge is a pressing issue

Labour and  Pension System Minister Josip Aladrović said that the system needs to be upgraded so as to make it easier for management companies to  make investments which would result in greater prosperity for (pension) fund members.

Aladrović illustrated the complexity of the pension system saying that 40 years ago there were four people employed to one pensioner whereas now that ratio is 1 to 1.3.

"This illustrates the challenges of the demographic trend Croatia is faced with," said Aladrović, underscoring that the demographic challenge is the most pressing one in the entire European Union.

He underscored that compulsory pension funds have savings of €17-18 billion and those savings represent an opportunity to improve Croatia's economic prosperity as well as an opportunity to meet the objectives of adequate pension allowances and the pension system's sustainability.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

 

Monday, 8 March 2021

HANFA: Women Account for 16% of Management Board Members of Listed Companies

ZAGREB, 8 March, 2021 - Women account for 16% of management board members of the companies listed on the Zagreb Stock Exchange and for 22% of supervisory board members, the Croatian Financial Services Supervisory Agency (HANFA) said on Monday, citing data from the court register.

In a statement marking International Women's Day, HANFA said that its corporate governance code shows that Croatia and the EU are still far from gender equality on the management and supervisory boards of listed companies.

According to HANFA, there has been a considerable change in the gender structure of the supervisory boards of companies listed on the Zagreb Stock Exchange over the last decade, with the share of women increasing from 18% in 2010 to 35% in 2019. However, their share again declined in 2020 to 22% due to the delisting of some of the companies. 

At the same time, the gender structure of management boards did not change considerably, ranging between 12 and 17%. Last year, 16% of management board members were women.

In recent decades, efforts have been made at EU level to increase the presence of women on companies' management and supervisory boards, mostly through adoption of different recommendations and by encouraging companies to adopt their own rules to achieve a balance in the gender structure of management and supervisory boards.

HANFA joined those efforts in October 2019 by adopting a new corporate governance code which provides that every five years the supervisory board of a company must define a target share of women on the management and supervisory boards, which must be achieved during the next five-year period. The code does not specify the percentage, but requires companies to set it by themselves in their annual report.

HANFA Governing Council chairman Ante Žigman noted that equality between men and women was one of the fundamental values of the European Union, but that despite efforts to achieve 40% female representation by 2020, the data was still unsatisfactory.

Tuesday, 29 December 2020

HANFA to Remove over 800 Regulated Businesses from Registers due to Brexit

ZAGREB, Dec 29, 2020 - The Croatian Financial Services Supervisory Agency (HANFA) said on Tuesday that it would remove fmore than 800 registered regulated businesses from the UK and Gibraltar rom its registers due to Brexit.

According to a statement from HANFA, as of 1 January 2021 the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is considered to be a third country in relation to the EU, which is why changes will occur in HANFA's registers  regarding providers of financial services from the UK and Gibraltar.

"On 1 January 2021 HANFA will remove more than 800 registered regulated entities based in the UK and Gibraltar from its registers, which until then were authorised to provide services and/or perform activities in Croatia based on the EU passport, as well as 57 notified alternative investment funds," HANFA said.

The businesses in question provide investment services and perform investment activities, manage funds, provide (re)insurance services and distribute insurance products.

A complete list of these companies is available at HANFA's web site.

There are no businesses from the UK or Gibraltar that provide services in Croatia through a branch office so HANFA will not need to update those registers.

HANFA recalls that on December 24 the European Commission and the UK reached an agreement regulating their future cooperation.

The EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement covers three areas - an agreement on free trade, partnership in protection of citizens' rights, and an agreement on governance.

Sunday, 15 December 2019

Croatian Regulators Comply with European Recommendations on Suspicious Transactions

ZAGREB, December 15, 2019 - The Croatian Financial Services Supervisory Agency (HANFA) mostly complies with recommendations by European regulators regarding the prevention of suspicious transactions, an analysis by the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) shows.

ESMA analysed the work of regulators in 30 European countries in the categories supervision of financial companies and the system of detection of suspicious transactions. Also analysed were the regulators' responses to poor-quality reporting or non-reporting of suspicious transactions.

ESMA also assessed the quality of regulatory analyses of suspicious transactions, cross-border data exchange, and supervision resources.

HANFA was assessed as mostly compliant in three of the six assessment areas, fully compliant in two areas and partially compliant in one.

In the area of supervision of financial companies, Croatia was assessed as mostly compliant, together with Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Greece, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Finland, Sweden, Iceland and Norway.

An analysis of the supervision of systems for the detection of suspicious transactions put Croatia in a group of countries that are fully compliant with European regulations, together with Belgium, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Great Britain.

HANFA's response to poor-quality reporting and non-reporting of suspicious transactions brought it an assessment of partial compliance with European recommendations. The same assessment was given to the regulators of Denmark, Greece, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Romania, Iceland and Slovakia.

In the fourth area, the European regulator analysed suspiciuos transactions, describing Croatia as mostly compliant, together with 19 other countries.

In the fifth area, ESMA analysed cross-border data exchange on suspicious transactions, describing Croatia as mostly compliant with European recommendations, along with 15 other European countries.

In the area of national competent authorities' resources, Croatia is fully compliant with European recommendations, along with 16 other European countries.

More business news can be found in the dedicated section.

Saturday, 8 December 2018

Will Croatian Finance Minister Zdravko Marić Leave Government?

Neither Prime Minister Plenković nor Zdravko Marić himself have come out and actually denied the rumours about the Croatian finance minister's potential departure from the government.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 8th of December, 2018, although no one has officially confirmed this, some claim that a quick analysis of the statements made by both Prime Minister Plenković and Zdravko Marić himself suggest that it is apparently ''almost certain'' that the longtime Croatian finance minister is set to leave his government position.

This information has begun circulating at a very inconvenient time and amid quite a bit of controversy, given the fact that Zdravko Marić's older sister has been promoted in HANFA, which is ironically the organisation investigating the finance minister for his activities during the height of Agrokor saga, which still isn't over. Good timing you say? You're right.

To quickly recall, this isn't the first time the Croatian finance minister has fallen out of favour in such a public manner. Marić used to work at Agrokor before taking on his government position, and as more and more came to light in regard to Agrokor's messy story, many began to suspect that he knew much more than he was letting on about the crimes which allegedly took place under the gigantic company's former owner, Ivica Todorić.

Despite having held strong to his statement of innocence and managing to survive this political test, ultimately retaining his position, the cloud of suspicion surrounding him never truly went away, it only engulfed Martina Dalić instead, the fomer deputy PM, who became a welcome distraction for the minister tormented by his past.

Regardless of the passage of time and the stepping down of Martina Dalić, the curse of the former Agrokor crisis has come knocking at Croatian finance minister's door once again, and this time it looks like he won't be getting off quite as lightly.

Upon being asked, Prime Minister Plenković's response has been scrutinised deeply, and for some it could be concluded that the Croatian finance minister's time is up, purely and simply because the he did not deny it when asked, writes Večernji list.

Similarly, Marić didn't deny it himself, either. The question now is not only who would potentially replace Marić in the government, but whether or not this could potentially be a chance for the reconstruction of the current government.

While unconfirmed, speculation suggests that Marić's departure from the government will take place next month, which would in itself be logical because he has already compiled a budget for next year.

The exact name of the person who either may or definitely replace Marić is still unknown, primarily because this information remains officially unconfirmed. But those speculating have suggested that it could be Tomislav Ćorić, the curent minister of energy and environmental protection, but sources close to the government claim that if he is doing his job well and that such a move would make no real sense. It would also be his third new ministry if it were to occur. So, it seems difficult to imagine Corić taking over Marić's job.

The speculation of potential names continues, despite the fact that the rumours of the current Croatian finance minister leaving his position early next year remain unconfirmed. 

Make sure to stay up to date on this situation and much more on the domestic and European political stage by following our dedicated politics page.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

HANFA Orders Suspension of Trading with Agrokor Shares

ZAGREB, March 1, 2018 - Following the Zagreb Stock Exchange’s (ZSE) decision to resume trading with stocks of companies from the Agrokor Group on 2 March (Friday), the Croatian Financial Services Supervisory Agency (HANFA) said on Thursday it had ordered the ZSE to suspend without delay trading with the said stocks in order to protect investors and secure organised and regular trading.

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