S.I. No. 643/2016 – European Union (Occupational Pension Schemes Investment) (Amendment) Regulations 2016
Friday 23 February 2018: The Pensions Authority wishes to issue a revised notification to relevant pension scheme trustees notifying them of their obligations under the European Union (Occupational Pension Schemes Investment) (Amendment) Regulations 2016 (the “Regulations”). The Regulations came into force on 20 December 2016. A copy of the Regulations can be found here: www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/2016/si/643/made/en/pdf
Overview of Regulations
In summary, the Regulations require the trustees of certain specified pension schemes to avoid relying solely or mechanistically on credit ratings when assessing the risk involved in their pension schemes’ investments. In the Authority’s view, the Regulations are likely to be relevant to trustees of very few Irish pension schemes as their application is limited to trustees that directly invest in debt instruments and excludes investments in collective investment undertakings and investments in an insurance policy. However, the Authority recommends that trustees contact their legal advisers if they are in doubt as to whether the Regulations apply to them.
What pension scheme trustees are subject to the Regulations?
As noted above, the Regulations apply to trustees of pension schemes where all or part of the scheme’s resources are directly invested in debt instruments (other than schemes with less than 100 members who are entitled to, but are not receiving, an immediate retirement benefit under the scheme). Further, it should be noted that the following investments are excluded from the Regulations:
- investments in collective investment undertakings;
- investments in certain classes of insurance policies.
For the avoidance of doubt, schemes that directly invest in bonds issued by the government of any Member State are obliged to notify the Authority under the Regulations.
Notification to the Authority
The Regulations direct relevant trustees to notify the Authority, in such manner as directed by the Authority, whenever all or part of their scheme’s resources are directly invested in debt instruments.
The Authority hereby directs any pension scheme trustees that currently directly invest in debt instruments, in accordance with the Regulations, to notify the Authority of this fact by 31 March 2018 using the attached form.
Trustees (or the scheme’s Registered Administrator, on their behalf) must notify the Authority by emailing this form, completed in respect of their scheme, to: firstname.lastname@example.org. On receipt of such notification, the Authority will contact the trustees of the relevant scheme to assess compliance with the Regulations.
For further information, contact:
Head of Operations
The Pensions Authority
Tel: (01) 6131900
Note to Editors
The Pensions Authority
The Pensions Authority (the “Authority”) is the statutory body established by the Pensions Act 1990 (the “Act”) to regulate occupational pension schemes, trust based RACs and Personal Retirement Savings Accounts (PRSAs) and to advise the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection on overall pension policy development.