Cross-border schemes

This section provides information on the requirements for occupational pension schemes and trust RACs (schemes) operating 'cross-border' in Ireland.

Part XII of the Pensions Act 1990 allows schemes registered or established in one Member State to carry on business and accept contributions from employers based in other Member States in respect of their employees. Irish based schemes must apply to the Pensions Authority (the Authority) for authorisation before accepting any cross-border contributions. Each time a scheme wishes to accept contributions in respect of overseas employees, further information must be supplied to the Authority so it can make a decision on whether the proposed arrangement is compatible with the scheme. Irish schemes engaging in cross-border activity must abide by the social and labour law and information requirements and any investment requirements applicable to any scheme members in other States.

The European Union (Occupational Pension Schemes) Regulations, 2021 (the Regulations) introduced operational changes to the existing cross-border provisions in the Pensions Act 1990. These include requiring the Authority to give reasons for a decision not to grant approval to accept cross-border contributions from a particular employer. Trustees now have appeal rights to the High Court in respect of this decision or a decision to refuse general authorisation for cross-border activity. The approval process in respect of the proposed cross-border activity is expanded, from a general assessment by the Authority of compatibility, to an assessment of the scheme’s administrative structure, financial situation, and the trustees’ compliance with fit and proper requirements.

The Regulations also inserted two new sections into Part XII of the Pensions Act 1990 to allow for the cross-border transfer of all or part of a scheme.

Further information

If a scheme wishes to engage in cross-border activity, it should seek further information and the appropriate application forms from the Authority by contacting info@pensionsauthority.ie.