Summary of Pensions Authority regulatory activity for 2019
3 March 2020: Today, the Pensions Authority issues its summary of regulatory activity for 2019.
In 2019, the Authority concluded nine prosecutions cases and secured convictions in three cases as follows:
- two cases related to the deduction and non-remittance of employee pension contributions to schemes within the statutory timeframe (section 58A(1) of the Pensions Act)
- one case related to failure to respond to a statutory request for information from the Authority (section 18 of the Pensions Act).
The remaining cases were mostly struck out due to payment of arrears or the underlying matter being rectified in advance of the court date.
Throughout 2019 the Authority continued to provide technical support to the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection in preparing for the transposition of the IORP II Directive into Irish law.
The Pensions Regulator, Brendan Kennedy, said: “During 2019 the Authority made further progress towards the implementation of a forward looking risk based approach to supervision. In 2019 the Authority also began to increase our supervision capacity and enhance our internal IT and data management capabilities.”
Regulatory activity for 2019 at a glance:
- 55 new investigations were opened into various alleged breaches of the Pensions Act. The alleged breaches varied from deduction and non-remittance of pension contributions to failure to reply to a statutory request for information.
- 63 investigations were finalised and closed during the year.
- Four onsite inspections were undertaken as follows; three of PRSA Providers and one of a Professional Trustee (a professional trustee means a person who in the course of a profession or business provides trustee services to schemes or trust RACs). The objective of these inspections was to assess standards of pension administration, data management and levels of compliance with the Pensions Act.
- 15 engagement meetings were held with regulated entities in order to ensure that they were performing their obligations under the Pensions Act. (This included PRSA providers, Registered Administrators, Life Companies and trustees).
- 159 desk based audits were carried out on a sample of occupational pension schemes and PRSAs. These audits focused on self-investment by employers, disclosure obligations and the rights of employees to have access to a pension scheme, PRSA and or AVCs.
- 503 of the 597 defined benefit schemes subject to the funding standard were in compliance with the standard as at 31 December 2019. All bar seven of the remaining 94 schemes have funding proposals, or are in the process of submitting funding proposals, designed to enable the scheme to satisfy the funding standard within a specified term. The Authority is maintaining close engagement with the trustees of these seven schemes.
- Four funding proposals from DB schemes were approved.
- One application to reduce accrued benefits from a DB scheme was approved.
- Five Freedom of Information requests received were completed within the statutory timeline.
- 354,220 data submissions from regulated entities were processed through the Authority’s Pension Data Register.
Support, information and guidance
Approximately 9,800 general pension and data processing queries were received and dealt with during the year.
Throughout the year the Authority issued information and communications relevant to its regulated entities on its website www.pensionsauthority.ie.
For further information, contact:
Head of Operations
The Pensions Authority
Tel: (01) 613 1900
Note to Editors
The Pensions Authority is the statutory body established by the Pensions Act, 1990 to regulate occupational pension schemes, trust based RACs and PRSAs.