Can kickbacks (fund provisions) have an impact on the capital requirement for life-expense risk? For example, when kickbacks are defined as a fixed percentage of a fund management expenses?

Background of the question

In accordance with Q&As 1788 and 2188, investment management expenses should be stressed in the calculation of capital requirement for life-expense risk, as all other expenses taken into account in the valuation of the best estimate. According to TP-guideline 28A, p. 3.34 from 21 April 2022, reimbursements of investment management expenses that the fund manager pays to the undertaking should be taken into account as other incoming cash flows. These two statements can be read together as if kickbacks can have no impact on the outcome of expense stress (10% stress of all expenses) because kick-backs are not part of expense cash flow, but other incoming cash flow. Nevertheless, kickbacks or fund discounts can be defined as a fixed percentage of a fund management fee, and naturally being modelled as a percentage of the investment management expenses. In such case, 10%-stress on expenses would increase even kickbacks by 10%. It would be very strange to fix kickbacks in money terms, applying 10%-stress only on expenses while calculating capital requirement for life-expense risk.

EIOPA answer

Generally, reimbursements of investment management expenses or kickbacks should not be changed in the expense-stress.

However, in case of agreements that are defining kickbacks as a fixed percentage of the fund management expense, kickbacks should follow percentage change of the expense flow and rise proportionally. For example, when the fund management fee is 1% and kickback (or fund discount) is 50% of the fund management fee, then the stressed value of the fund management fee will be 1.1% and respectively kickbacks will also rise from 0.5% to 0.55%. In this case applying a stress to the expenses will also entail a change in the other incoming cash flows part of the calculation. Netting of investment expenses and kickbacks in the expense shock scenario assumes that the kickbacks are paid unconditionally and do not contain a clawback provision.‚Äč