Ireland: Pensions Update, March 2016

Last Updated: 13 April 2016
Article by Philip Smith and Catherine Austin

KEY POINTS

For DB trustees: The Pensions Authority will be focusing on underfunded DB schemes and on a programme of compliance activity.

For DC trustees: It would be prudent for DC trustees to carry out an audit against the first three Codes of Governance and to develop a risk register where one is not already in place and to consider how it will be maintained and developed.

1. PENSIONS AUTHORITY – 2016-2020 OBJECTIVES

The Pensions Authority (the "Authority") has published its strategy for 2016-2020. The strategic objectives of the Authority for the period are:

  • to monitor and supervise occupational pension schemes and PRSAs to ensure they continue to be, or will be, well managed by competent trustees, providers and administrators;
  • that scheme trustees, the pensions industry and employers can rely on the Authority for guidance and support on what the Authority expects;
  • that the Authority will be well known as an accessible, relevant and practical source of information for the public, members, contributors and beneficiaries; and
  • that the Authority will be a valuable source of technical pensions advice, knowledge, information and support to the Department of Social Protection.

2. CODES OF GOVERNANCE FOR DEFINED CONTRIBUTION PENSION SCHEME

The Authority intends to publish a series of Codes of Governance (the "Codes") over the course of 2016, with the aim of helping trustees of occupational defined contribution schemes to meet the standards of practice which it is believed form the basis of good governance and administration of their pension schemes.

On 27 January 2016, the Authority published the first tranche of Codes:

  • Governance plan of action;
  • Trustee meetings; and
  • Managing conflicts of interest.

The Codes are not a statement of law but rather they are intended to supplement the Authority's Trustee Handbook and to communicate to trustees the standards of behaviour that are expected of them, with the overall objective of ensuring that trustees are cognisant of their duty of care to act in the interests of members.

Governance plan of action

The Authority expects that a governance plan of action be drawn up by the trustees to ensure consistency in the development of policies, processes and controls for the management of a scheme. The development of a risk management plan should form part of the governance plan of action. A risk register should be maintained by all schemes.

A properly considered and effectively drafted governance plan of action should highlight statutory timeframes and deadlines and build processes and control procedures designed to meet statutory deadlines.

The Authority advises that one person be nominated to take ownership of each individual task.

Trustees should have a good working knowledge of the relevant scheme documentation in order to be aware of what they are or are not permitted to do in certain circumstances.

Trustee meetings

The Authority has advised that trustees hold formal meetings which follow a set agenda and that all decisions made are properly recorded. The frequency at which meetings are held is at the discretion of the trustees, subject to compliance with the governing documents of the scheme, and having regard to the nature and size of each individual scheme. The timing of meetings is often influenced by the issuance of reports such as the annual report, members benefit statement and investment management report, as these reports often require discussion and decisions to be made as to how best to proceed in light of information provided by such reports.

It is important to be aware of the need to consult the Trust Deed and Rules (or indeed the Memorandum and Articles of Association in the case of a corporate trustee) to ensure that requirements as to quorums for meetings are being met and that meetings are being held in accordance with the rules set out in these governing documents.

Managing conflicts of interest

Trustees have a duty to act in the interests of members. In order to comply with this duty, trustees must be cognisant of the importance of avoiding or managing conflicts of interest. This is especially important for trustees who perform a dual role as a director of a corporate trustee and as an employee of the employer company or as a member of the relevant scheme, as they are required to ensure that their holding of a second role does not place them in a position of conflict of interest. The Authority advises that the following steps are taken in order to ensure that a conflict of interest is managed:

  • Identify a potential conflict
  • Conflicts of interest can arise where a trustee has undertaken more than one role, but trustees should also be aware that advisers to a scheme may be conflicted and so it is important that this is considered carefully in respect of each adviser.

    Specific training should be afforded to every new trustee to ensure that all trustees are able to recognise potential conflicts of interest and consider whether such a potential conflict of interest will affect the duty of the trustees to act in the interests of the members.

    The Authority recommends that a register of actual, potential or perceived conflicts of interest is established and updated on a continuous basis.

  • Monitor conflicts
  • Trustees should review their conflicts of interest policy on a regular basis (and on the occurrence of a change in circumstances in which the scheme operates) and revise it as required.

  • Manage conflicts
  • Every identified conflict of interest must be considered carefully, having regard to the nature and circumstances of each individual scheme and to the nature and scale of the conflict of interest. Conflicts of interest should be managed on an ongoing basis to ensure that there is no adverse effect on a trustee carrying out his duty to act in the interest of members.

3. COMPANIES ACT 2014 (THE "2014 ACT")

The form of private company limited by shares which existed under the Companies Acts 1963 to 2014 (the "Companies Acts") will cease to exist at the end of the transition period on 30 November 2016 (i.e. 18 months after the commencement of the 2014 Act).

A company which existed as a private company limited by shares under the Companies Acts and which has not yet converted to either a limited company or a designated activity company (DAC) under the 2014 Act by the deadline (which is on or before 31 August 2016 if the company is converting to a DAC by way of ordinary resolution) will become a limited company by default at the end of the transition period.

This article contains a general summary of developments and is not a complete or definitive statement of the law. Specific legal advice should be obtained where appropriate.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.

Disclaimer

Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.

Registration

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.

Cookies

A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

Links

This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.

Mail-A-Friend

If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.

Security

This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.