The candidates for the ASF Council will be heard today

Andrei Iacomi
English Section / 18 decembrie 2023

The candidates for the ASF Council will be heard today

Versiunea în limba română

Alexandru Petrescu - PSD proposal for the position of President of the Authority

The bankruptcies of City Insurance and Euroins marked the mandate of the current Council

In the capital market, ASF was accused of turning a blind eye to the SIFs' negotiations

The candidates for the Council of the Financial Supervisory Authority (ASF) will be heard, today, in the Romanian Parliament, for a five-year term at the head of the institution that supervises the insurance market, private pensions and the capital market. Among those who have a good chance of occupying a position in the leadership of the Authority are Alexandru Petrescu, who is supported by PSD for the position of pre-president of ASF and Gabriela Horga, who is supported by PNL for the position of vice-president of ASF on the capital market. Gabriela Horga should have been a colleague of Gabriel Avramescu, the deputy who recently resigned from the leadership of PNL Buzău, but it seems that at the end of last week Sorin Mititelu, proposed by the PSD, was to be supported for the position of vice-president of the ASF on insurance , a proposal disputed by the Confederation of Authorized Operators and Transporters from Romania.

It is certain that, if today the committees of the budget, finance, banks and the plenary of the Parliament will approve the new management, Alexandru Petrescu, former director general of the Romanian Post and former minister for the Business Environment, Trade and Entrepreneurship, will replace him as president of ASF on Nicu Marcu, the one whose political class refused to renew his mandate.

The current mandate of the ASF Council, led by Nicu Marcu, was marked by the biggest bankruptcies in the history of insurance in our country. First City Insurance, RCA's market leader with a 45% share, went bankrupt, the company failing to meet minimum capital requirements. Following the bankruptcy of City Insurance, 250,692 people were damaged. Of these, until the end of last year, the Insureds' Guarantee Fund paid compensation to only 64,568 people in a total amount of over 603 million lei (approximately 120 million euros). According to estimates, the total amount of compensation for over 250,000 people amounts to a value between 350 million and 400 million euros. As early as 2017, City reported to the ASF that it had cash available at a banking company, but in the spring of 2021, the Authority found out about the non-existence of contractual relations and the account. ASF requested City's bankruptcy only in September 2021, until then being content to put the company into the special administration of the Guarantee Fund and to fine the City management.

In the first part of this year, Euroins, the company that had become the leader of the RCA market after the collapse of City Insurance, went bankrupt. At Euroins, when the license was revoked by the ASF, there were still 837,000 valid insurance policies and over 100,000 claims for damages, for which the court admitted claims worth 600 million lei until the beginning of September 2023, in the conditions where there are indications regarding potential claims of 4.7 billion lei, which would bring the damage caused by the bankruptcy of Euroins to a higher value than that produced by City Insurance.

According to the journalist Radu Soviani, the ASF knew about the solvency problems of Euroins two years before, and the lawyer Gheorghe Piperea claimed that the bankruptcy of Euroins had been established for more than a year, the delay of more than seven months in the bankruptcy declaration being a crime. On the other hand, Eurohold, the Bulgarian group that owned Euroins Romania, accused the ASF of acting illegally to remove the company from our country, mainly pointing to Cristian Roşu, vice-president of the Authority, responsible for the insurance market.

The two insurers together owned about two thirds of the RCA market in our country. Their bankruptcy created a huge hole in the insurance market and the price of RCA policies skyrocketed.

As for the capital market, the Authority was accused of turning a blind eye to the SIFs' negotiations, to the detriment of millions of shareholders. SIF Banat-Crişana and SIF Muntenia placed money in several investment funds, which in turn bought shares in other SIFs, thereby reaching, together, to exceed the 5% threshold, which was in force until July 2020. Through these intermediaries, SIF1 and SIF4 took over the management of SIF Oltenia, which triggered the flight of the Pilon II pension funds from the SIF's shareholding in Craiova. Also, funds financed by SIF1&4 even own SIF1 and SIF4 titles, which they use in the general meetings of the shareholders of the two companies. The situation was complained to the ASF by investors, who accused that this practice is prohibited by the capital market legislation, but the Authority replied that their claims are not supported, because the fund managers are independent from those who have them finance.

In the current mandate, the Financial Supervisory Authority participated in the drafting of the "National Strategy for the Development of the Capital Market 2022 - 2026", a document harshly criticized in the BURSA newspaper.

There were also good things in the current mandate of the ASF leadership, such as the listing of Hidroelectrica only on the Bucharest Stock Exchange or the simplification of investor reporting and taxation, things to which the Authority has a certain contribution. But allegations of favoritism to certain market players tarnished the image of the institution and the market, eroding investor confidence. However, without trust, the capital market has no chance to develop.

Currently, the ASF Council is composed of the president Nicu Marcu, first vice-president Elena Doina Dascălu, Gabriel Grădinescu - vice-president, responsible for the capital market, Cristian Rosu - vice-president, responsible for the insurance market, Ştefan Daniel Armeanu - vice-president, responsible for private pensions , Josef Birtalan - non-executive member, Ioan Gheorghe Ţara - non-executive member, Aura Gabriela Socol - non-executive member and Ovidiu Răzvan Wlassopol - non-executive member. The mandate of the current ASF Council expired in the middle of last month.

Gabriel Avrămescu - one of the candidates for the position of first vice-president of ASF

Gabriel Avrămescu submitted his candidacy for the position of first vice-president of the Financial Supervision Authority, from the PNL, according to some sources.

Avrămescu is a deputy in the Romanian Parliament, and between October and December 2020 he was a state councilor in the Chancellery of the Prime Minister, Ludovic Orban. Between March 2017 and June 2018, he was the director of the General Directorate of Investments, Public Procurement and Internal Services within ANAF, according to his CV.

Gabriel Avrămescu was the prefect of Galaţi county, after having been the director of the Regional General Directorate of Public Finances. Between January 2007 and October 2013, he was the adviser for European affairs in the prefecture of Buzău County and later senior adviser at the same institution. He also worked at Banca Populară Română - Cooperativa de Credit, as a legal advisor.

According to his CV, Avrămescu holds a degree in legal sciences from the University of Bucharest and in economics, accounting and management informatics from the Danubius University in Galaţi. He has a master's degree in externally funded project management at the Bucharest National School of Political and Administrative Sciences and is currently a PhD student in management at the University of Craiova.

According to several publications from Buzău and Galaţi, at the beginning of last week, Avrămescu resigned from the position of president of the county organization PNL Buzău, going to run for the post of vice president of ASF. (A.I.)

Gabriela Horga - one of the PNL proposals for the position of vice-president of ASF

Maria-Gabriela Horga is one of the PNL proposals for the position of ASF vice-president, according to some sources. Horga is vice-president of the Committee for Budget, Finance and Banks of the Romanian Parliament and a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, according to his CV published on the website of the Chamber of Deputies.

Since February last year, Gabriela Horga is a PhD university lecturer at ASE, after previously being an academic staff member of the Faculty of Economic Sciences, Ovidius University of Constanţa. For one year, between December 2019 and December 2020, he was secretary of state in the chancellery of Prime Minister Ludovic Orban, with duties in the fields of taxation, public finance, economy, business environment and foreign investors. He was also an accredited adviser to the European Parliament and between May 2012 and December 2012 he was an adviser to the Minister of Economy, Trade and Business Environment, Daniel Chiţoiu.

According to her CV, Gabriela Horga obtained a doctorate in management from ASF, has a bachelor's degree in international business also from ASE and a master's degree in financial, banking and insurance management from Valahia University in Tâtgovişte. According to an article published in Replica Online from December 2020, Gabriela Horga is the daughter of Vasile Horga, former PNL deputy. His company, Euro Audit Service SRL from Târgovişte, is known for the dozens of contracts received over time from the state for public lighting services. (A.I.)

Sorin Mititelu aims for a post of vice-president of ASF; his candidacy was challenged by COTAR

Sorin Mititelu is one of the names circulated for the post of vice president of the Financial Supervision Authority, from the PSD side. Mititelu is the co-founder and general manager of Optimus Fintech, Country Manager Romania at Future Healthcare Group and the founder and general manager of Altior Consulting, a financial consulting firm, according to the information on his LinkedIn profile.

Between January 2014 and July 2017, he was the general director of BCR Asigurări de Viaţă, after having previously been an executive manager within BCR, according to LinkedIn.

Just one day before the end of the submission of candidacies for the ASF Council, COTAR requested PSD to come up with another proposal for the person who will be in charge of insurance, given that Sorin Mititelu also has problems with the law. According to COTAR, Mititelu does not meet the conditions of good reputation for the position of ASF vice-president of the Insurance Reinsurance Sector, according to GEO 93/2012. On the other hand, according to Gândul, Sorin Mititelu is the target of a disinformation campaign related to a DIICOT file which, in fact, does not target him.

Mititelu is a graduate of the Academy of Economic Studies, majoring in International Business, according to his LinkedIn profile. (A.I.)

Alexandru Petrescu - the candidate for the position of president of ASF

Alexandru Petrescu, the PSD proposal for the position of president of the Financial Supervisory Authority (ASF), is the general director of the National Agency for Mineral Resources (ANRM) since the summer of this year.

Petrescu was the Minister of Communications and Information Society for one year, in the Dăncilă government, and the Minister for the Business Environment, Commerce and Entrepreneurship, for four months, in the Grindeanu government. From May 2012 to December 2016, he held management positions at Romanian Post, including general director for two and a half years.

According to HotNews, during Petrescu's leadership, the Post Office was involved in several scandals. In the fall of 2015, DNA opened a criminal case, following notifications made by the Ministry of Communications. In October 2014, during the electoral campaign for the presidential elections, the Romanian Post was involved in a scandal, after Bucharest residents found electoral leaflets in their mailboxes with messages such as: "Klaus Iohannis wants to Cut Your Pension!", "Traian Basescu supports and votes for Klaus Iohannis!" and "Only Ponta protects pensions!'. The Romanian Post reacted, emphasizing that the distribution of these leaflets was done on the basis of a commercial contract, as it has done in other electoral campaigns (with most of the political formations involved) and that it is not concerned with the content of the delivered messages, according to HotNews.

Alexandru Petrescu is a member of the Board of Directors of the Investor Compensation Fund, and from December 2021 to February 2023 he was a member of the Supervisory Board of the Romanian Counter-Guarantee Fund. Between June 2017 and November 2018 he was the general director of the National Credit Guarantee Fund for Small and Medium Enterprises (FNGCIMM) Starting from May 2014 and until December 2016, Petrescu was the president of CFR Călători.

According to his CV, the candidate for the position of ASF president is a Romanian and British citizen, with a degree in business administration from the University of South Wales in Great Britain. (A.I.)