Summary of Pensions Authority regulatory activity for 2020
11 March 2021: Today, the Pensions Authority publishes its summary of regulatory activity for 2020.
Non-compliance by regulated entities can result in prosecution. In 2020, the Authority concluded six prosecution cases and secured convictions in four cases as follows:
- two cases related to a failure to respond to a statutory request for information from the Authority (section 18 of the Pensions Act)
- one case related to the deduction and non-remittance of employee pension contributions to a scheme within the statutory timeframe (section 58A(1) of the Pensions Act)
- one case related to the non-remittance of obliged employer pension contributions to a scheme within the statutory timeframe (section 58A(2) of the Pensions Act).
Where a conviction is recorded the person or company has been found guilty of a criminal offence. The remaining cases were mostly struck out due to payment of arrears or the underlying matter being rectified in advance of the court date.
Regulatory activity for 2020 at a glance:
- 35 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.
- 42 investigations were finalised and closed during the year.
- Two onsite inspections of PRSA providers were undertaken. The objective of these inspections was to assess standards of pension administration, data management and levels of compliance with the Pensions Act.
- 66 supervision and engagement meetings were held with regulated entities in order to ensure that they were performing their obligations under the Pensions Act. Included in this number and as part of its move to forward-looking risk-based supervision, the Authority engaged with master trusts and large defined benefit schemes to assess how well they were meeting their governance and risk obligations.
- Five desk-based audits were finalised in 2020. These audits related to assessing compliance with disclosure regulations for occupational pension schemes and PRSAs.
- 200 schemes (100 DB and 100 DC) were surveyed to assess their levels of preparedness for the impending IORP II legislation. Schemes of varying sizes, with a mix of trustee profiles were chosen randomly from the register of occupational pension schemes. The results from the survey were published on the website.
- The Authority concluded the third phase of its audit of over 100 relevant authorities responsible for the administration of the Single Public Service Pension Scheme and specifically the requirement to issue member benefit statements to members of the scheme. The majority of relevant authorities have now issued member benefit statements or are at an advanced stage of doing so.
- 491 of the 566 defined benefit schemes subject to the funding standard, satisfied the standard as at 31 December 2020. All bar 12 of the remaining 75 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 will directly engage with any scheme that fails to submit a funding proposal.
- Six funding proposals from DB schemes were approved.
- Over 250,000 data submissions from regulated entities were processed through the Authority’s Pension Data Register.
Support, information and guidance
11,595 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 as follows:
- Covid-19 – Update from the Pensions Authority (April)
- The Pensions Authority published statistics for defined benefit schemes (June)
- The Pensions Authority publishes its Annual Report and Accounts 2019 (August)
- Pensions Authority reminder to trustees on investment strategy implementation for schemes under funding proposals (August)
- Pensions Authority compliance alert: Use of parallel or additional contracts by Personal Retirement Savings Account (PRSA) providers in the operation of their PRSA products (September)
- Important information for trustees of defined benefit schemes (October)
- 2020 Engagement Programme Findings on Master Trusts (November)
- Defined Benefit Engagement Programme Findings Report (December).
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For further information, contact:
Head of Operations
The Pensions Authority
Tel: (01) 613 1900
Note to Editors
The Pensions Authority is the statutory body that supervises compliance with the requirements of the Pensions Act, 1990, as amended, by trustees of occupational pension schemes and trust RACs, PRSA providers, registered administrators and employers. The Pensions Authority also provides guidance and information to these stakeholders on their duties and responsibilities and advises the Minister for Social Protection on pension matters. See: www.pensionsauthority.ie