Presentation to Waterford Institute of Technology Business Students

Waterford Institute of Technology
Business Students
Friday 21 March 2014
“Pensions regulation in Ireland”
David Malone
Head of Operations and Communications
The Pensions Authority
Pensions Authority
Established by the Pensions Act, 1990
Supervision, regulation
and enforcement
Policy, legal and
Information and
Pensions system in Ireland
Pillar 1: State pension
– Contributory pension of maximum of €230.30 per week = 35% of average
earnings (Non-statutory political commitment to maintain at this level)
– Means-tested non-contributory pension of €219 per week
– Aim is essentially one of poverty prevention
Pillar 2: Occupational pension schemes
– Employer sponsored DB and DC schemes
– Operate on a funded basis (private sector) and pay-as you go basis (public
Pillar 3: Personal pensions
– Personal pension vehicles
– Includes Personal Retirement Savings Accounts (PRSAs) and Retirement
Annuity Contracts (RACs)
Total of pillars 2 and 3 pension fund assets = 45% of GDP - but account for just
25% of retirement income
75% rely on the State pension
Types of private pensions
Company Pension
Defined benefit
Personal Retirement
Savings Accounts
Defined contribution
Retirement Annuity
Contracts (RACs) or
Personal Pensions
Supplementary pension provision in Ireland
(as at 31 December 2013)
Defined benefit – 572,681 members in 1,040 defined benefit schemes
- 933 schemes with 189,644 members are subject to the Funding Standard
- 107 schemes with 338,037 Public Service employees (full and part-time)
Defined contribution - 232,939 members in 60,192 schemes
Personal Retirement Savings Accounts (PRSAs)
206,936 PRSAs with asset value of €3.46 billion
Personal Pension Plans/Retirement Annuity Contracts (RACs)
(200,000 + contracts – Irish Insurance Federation)
Pensions Coverage in the Irish Workforce
Defined benefit schemes
During 2013 the investment environment for pensions continued to improve however, there has been
no overall improvement in the position of many defined benefit schemes.
Here are some current details:
291 schemes were due to submit a funding proposal to the Authority by or after 30 June 2013
since 30 June 2013:
– 103 schemes have submitted a funding proposal
– 123 schemes have not submitted a proposal (41 of these have advised they are going to
wind up)
of the remaining 65
– 25 have submitted a positive AFC.
– 3 schemes have advised that they will be submitting a positive AFC.
– 37 schemes have gone into wind-up or have wound up.
since 1 January 2013
– 96 schemes have commenced wind up or have wound up.
National Pensions Policy
The recommendations include :
 increasing the State pension age to 66 in 2014, 67 in 2021, 68 in 2028
 new model defined benefit pension scheme
 new model scheme for public servants
 introducing auto-enrolment into a pension for those aged 22 years or over
and in employment from 2014
Background to DB Funding Standard
changes since 2012
• Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2012 and 2013
• Statutory Guidance
• Regulations
Funding Standard Reserve
When does it apply?
• Schemes must check whether they hold FSR from 1 June 2012 and
submit certificates from that date.
• Schemes must hold FSR from 1 January 2016 and if they don’t they
must file Funding Proposal (FP) but
– If FP end date after 1 January 2016, FP must
– anticipate holding FSR
– If Section 50 sought, scheme must satisfy FSR immediately (or
at end of FP period)
Funding Standard Reserve
• 10% of funding standard liabilities less EU sovereign
bonds/cash held plus
• effect on funding standard liabilities of ½% drop in
interest rates less the amount by which resources would
increase as a result of the same change
Funding Standard Reserve
Bonds and
Impact of
0.5% drop
in interest
rates =
10% of
value of
equities =
Total Risk
When interest rates go down - bond asset values rise; however, scheme liabilities also increase
as it costs schemes more to purchase annuities. The risk reserve for the impact of a 0.5% drop in
interest rates is equal to the difference between the rise in liabilities minus the increase in bond
asset values.
Benefit Reductions (Section 50)
• Authority can issue S50 directions where scheme fails
funding standard
• Authority can now specify actual measures (likely to be
what’s in the application)
• Benefit reductions must be carried out within one month
of direction
• Application requirements now in statutory guidance
Statutory Guidance
What is Statutory Guidance?
• Distinct from existing Pensions Authority guidance
• Binding legal instrument
• A breach amounts to an offence
• Prescribed by Minister via Funding Standard Regulations
• Can’t be altered without Ministerial consent
Statutory Guidance
(all available on the website)
• Section 42 – FS calculations where scheme holds
sovereign annuities/sovereign bonds (S53B basis)
• Section 47 – Unsecured Undertaking and General
Contingent Asset Guidance
• Section 49 – Funding Proposal Guidance
• Section 50 – Benefit Reduction Guidance
Pension scheme wind-up priority orders
The Social Welfare and Pensions (No. 2) Act 2013 (“2013 Act”) came into force on 25 December
2013. It introduces two new wind-up priority orders and expands the type of benefit reductions which
the Board may direct under section 50 of the Pensions Act 1990.
Wind up priority orders under Section 48 of the Pensions Act 1990
For all schemes which start to wind up on or after 25 December 2013, one of two priority orders
will apply:
the single insolvency order will apply if the scheme’s employer is solvent at the date of wind
the double insolvency order will apply if the scheme’s employer is insolvent at the date of
wind up. In a multi-employer scheme, all participating employers must be insolvent for the
double insolvency order to apply.
Insolvency is defined in the Protection of Employees (Employers’ Insolvency) Act 1984 and can
include (for example) liquidations, receiverships, resolutions to wind up a company.
Single Insolvency Order
Benefits will be distributed in the following order of priority:
Additional voluntary contributions (“AVCs”) and transfers in of AVCs; and defined contribution (“DC”) benefits and
transfers in of DC benefits.
Pensioner benefits (excluding post-retirement increases), in accordance with the following limits:
a) if the annual pension is €12,000 or less, 100% of the pension;
b) if the annual pension is more than €12,000 and less than €60,000, the greater of €12,000 and 90% of the
pension; and
c) if the annual pension is €60,000 or more, the greater of €54,000 and 80% of the pension.
50% of active and deferred benefits, excluding post-retirement increases.
Remaining pensioner benefits, excluding post-retirement increases.
Remaining active and deferred benefits, excluding post-retirement increases.
Any remaining benefits, including post-retirement increases.
N.B. The benefits which scheme members receive in a wind up will depend upon the scheme assets which are
available for distribution.
Double Insolvency Order
Benefits will be distributed in the following order of priority:
AVCs and transfers in of AVCs; and DC benefits and transfers in of DC benefits.
50% of pensioner benefits, including post-retirement increases.
50% of active and deferred benefits, including post retirement increases.
Pensioner benefits up to a maximum of €12,000 per year, excluding post-retirement increases.
Remaining pensioner benefits, excluding post-retirement increases.
Remaining active and deferred benefits, excluding post-retirement increases.
Any remaining benefits, including post-retirement increases.
N.B. The benefits which scheme members receive in a wind up will depend upon the scheme assets which are
available for distribution.
However, in a double insolvency, if the scheme does not have enough assets to pay for the benefits under
priorities 2, 3 and 4, the Minister for Finance will provide the necessary money to make up the shortfall, subject to
criteria set out in legislation.
Pensions information
Pension calculators
Information booklets
Pension checklists
Free Online Trustee Training,
Guidance & FAQs, E-mail
alerts & Trustee supports
Enquiry service
[email protected]/
Why have a Pension?
Life expectancy increasing – 20 plus years in retirement
What kind of lifestyle do you want and how will you fund it?
Current State pension = €230.30 per week
8 out of 10 people say - the State pension will not meet all
their needs in retirement
Pension = Income in Retirement
Tax relief on personal contributions
Highest age at any time during the tax year
Under 30
60 and over
For tax purposes limited to earnings up to a
maximum of €115,000 in any year.
Standard Fund Threshold - €2 million.
Changing world we live in
Living Longer
More Contract Work
More mobility in
Smaller Families
Single Parent
Changing work
More Part Time
Changing Demographics
Pensions in the workplace
“A good pension is a valuable asset, don’t leave work without it”
• The workplace is the optimum location for pension
provision, information and education
• A company benefits from having:
– a reputation and respect as a good employer
– a workforce that feels valued and important
– increased loyalty and commitment from staff
– an enhanced staff recruitment, reward and retention
Employers’ Pension Obligations
 By law an employer must provide ALL employees with some
form of access to a pension, whether they are in full-time,
part-time, temporary, contract or casual employment.
 All employers regardless of their size are obliged to provide
access to a Standard PRSA for “excluded employees”
 The Authority encourages employers to regard pensions as
part of the recruit, reward and retain approach to staff
 The Authority also encourages all employees to ask their
employer about their pension rights
Registered Administrators (RAs)
 From 1 November 2008 trustees of every scheme
must appoint an RA to provide core administration
 Core administration functions are:
- preparation of annual reports
- preparation of benefit statements
- maintenance of sufficient and accurate
member records to discharge above
The Authority’s approach to Regulation
The Authority’s allocation of resources is risk oriented on the basis of the following priorities:
1st priority
misappropriation of pension assets or contributions
2nd priority
failure to pay benefits due
3rd priority
inadequate funding of defined benefits
4th priority
inappropriate investment
5th priority
failure to provide prescribed information to members
This order represents the seriousness of the risks, not the likelihood of their occurrence.
Because regulation depends on Authority access to reliable information, we will especially target
failure to provide the Authority with information required under the Pensions Act, including
whistleblowing obligations.
Regulation, Supervision and Enforcement
On the spot fines regime introduced
in September 2007 - fine for
each offence = €2,000
Registered Administrators
introduced in November
Compulsory trustees training
introduced in February 2010
Sanctions for non-compliance
Pensions Authority prosecutions:
The Authority may take prosecutions against persons who breach provisions of the
Act or Regulations made there-under:
Offences can be prosecuted by the Authority on summary basis (District Court) or by
DPP on indictment (Circuit Court)
On summary conviction- a fine not exceeding €5,000 or imprisonment for term not
exceeding 1 year or both
On conviction or indictment by DPP- a fine not exceeding €25,000 or imprisonment
for term not exceeding 2 years or both (or in the case of a prosecution under Section
58(a) a fine not exceeding €25,000 or imprisonment for term not exceeding 5 years or
Engagement and Enforcement Activity
On-the-spot fines
During 2012 the Authority issued fines notices to 17 trustees of 6 schemes for certain breaches of
the Pensions Act. The breaches concerned related to:
– failure to submit or late submission of actuarial funding certificates
– late preparation of trustee annual reports
– failure to furnish annual benefit statements to members
€66,000 was paid by trustees in fines to the Authority and subsequently passed on to the
Exchequer during 2012.
Meeting with scheme trustees
During 2012 the Authority convened 52 meetings with individual schemes where trustees were
called to the Authority’s premises to discuss their schemes compliance with the Pensions Act.
RA on-site inspections
The Authority carried out 28 on-site inspections of RAs in 2012. The selection of RAs for
inspection is done both on a risk–based and random selection basis and covers the broad
spectrum of RAs based on their type and size of business.
Trustee Challenges
Main duties of Trustees under the Act
register the scheme with the Pensions Authority
ensure contributions are deducted and paid over to the
invest the funds and pay the benefits
ensure that the funding standard is met
keep records and accounts
preserve or transfer benefits
ensure equal pensions treatment
apply the resources of the scheme on wind up
disclose information as required
What the Authority expects of trustees
Before describing, it may be useful to set out what we do not expect:
– Trustees are not expected to be full-time
– Trustees are not expected to be pension professionals
– Trustees are not expected to be infallible.
Nonetheless, trustees are looking after money on behalf of other people.
Therefore there are minimum standards they must satisfy:
They must have certain basic knowledge
They must engage
They must act reasonably
They must have process
Risk Management for Trustees
Where trustees do not have the knowledge themselves, they engage professionals –
most often covering administration, investment and communications.
It is the trustees’ job to:
– question the professionals
– to push back, and not to accept answers that they don’t understand or do not feel
to be right.
The trustees must recognise that it is their responsibility to make decisions, and their
options should be set out for them clearly by the professional advisers.
This is probably the most challenging aspect of being a trustee.
It is important that trustees identify the decisions that they are making, and that they
have set out the alternatives among which they are deciding.
Risk Management Strategy
Unless trustees have a strategy for dealing with risks, they are not managing their
scheme properly.
There is no single or simple answer - trustees must identify the best answers for their
own scheme.
Hoping it won’t happen or hoping that something will turn up is not a risk
management strategy.
– As a trustee do you know the costs?
– How optimistic are the calculations?
– How much might they vary?
– Are you depending on high equity returns?
– What happens if you don’t get them?
In the long run, trustees will do themselves and all others concerned with the scheme
most good if they look at scheme funding from all angles.
Supporting Trustees
The Authority supports trustees in the following ways:
 the Trustee Handbook
 an extensive range of guidance and FAQs on pension matters
 booklets and checklists for trustees
 the Authority provides an information and enquiry service
 a register of trustee training providers is available on the website
 the Authority has developed an e-learning facility for trustees which is
free of charge and can be accessed on the website
Engage with your pension
Understand - what type of pension you are contributing to if you have one. Check
out the booklet ‘What are my pension options?’ and visit Understanding your pension
Review - the adequacy of your pension contributions regularly. Check if you are
contributing enough to have the income you want when you retire. Use the Pensions
Calculator at can help you work out the figures.
Keep an up to-date pensions file - read and check your annual pension benefit
statement and or your pension scheme annual report.
Ask questions - you should ask that your pension information be explained to you in
plain language and keep asking until you are happy and understand the information.
Engage with your pension
Charges - you should always be aware of the charges against your pension fund and
have them clearly explained to you by the trustees of your pension scheme or your
pension provider. Check out the checklist on ‘Investment, Risk, Fees and Charges’
and visit Understanding your pension on
Investment risk - it is important to understand how your pension savings are being
invested, the type of strategy and the level of risk involved. Check out the checklist on
‘Investment, Risk, Fees and Charges’ and visit Understanding your pension on
Tax relief - the Government supports you to save for your retirement, allowing you
tax relief on your pension contributions at your highest rate of tax. It is important to
understand the tax relief benefits and to make sure you receive your full entitlement.
Use the Pensions Calculator at to help you work out the
Engage with your pension
Approaching retirement - it is especially important to review any investment
decision taken in the years running up to retirement. On retirement you may receive a
number of different choices regarding how to draw down your pension, this is
something you should research well in advance. You should speak to your trustees,
employer, colleagues or financial advisor.
Standardisation of State Pension Age - the qualifying age for the State pension will
gradually increase over the coming years where the State Pension (Transition) at
aged 65 years will no longer be paid from 1 January 2014.
– This means that there will then be a standard State Pension age of 66 years for
– State pension age will increase to 67 in 2021 and to 68 in 2028.
Pension Adjustment Orders (PAOs)
• A PAO designates part of the pension benefits
– to a non member spouse
– or person representing a dependent child.
• The Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of
Cohabitants Act 2010 (“the Act”) came into force on 1 January 2011
• For further information, see - “A brief guide to the provisions of the
Family Law Acts” booklet
You are the future
• Don’t just watch things happen.......
• Make things happen.............
and to finish…..
Thank you for your time and attention.
I hope you found my presentation
interesting and of some benefit.
Questions & Answers

similar documents