Summary of Pensions Authority regulatory activity for 2021
15 March 2022: Today, the Pensions Authority publishes its summary of regulatory activity for 2021.
Non-compliance by regulated entities can result in prosecution. In 2021, the Authority concluded six prosecution cases and secured convictions in three cases as follows:
- two cases 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, 1990, as amended (the 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 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 2021 at a glance:
- 15 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.
- 24 investigations were finalised and closed during the year.
- 20 engagement meetings with the trustee boards of master trusts (MTs), defined contribution and defined benefit schemes as part of its 2021 engagement programme. The engagement programme built on the work started in 2020 and forms part of the Authority’s overall move to forward-looking risk-based supervision. The overall focus for the engagements was to examine how well-equipped schemes are to meet the enhanced governance and risk management requirements under the IORP II Directive following its transposition into law on 22 April 2021. A report on the key findings identified during the engagement process was published on the website in December 2021.
- Seven MiFID (Markets in Financial Instruments Directive) firms operating non-standard PRSAs were inspected to establish if they use third party/parallel contracts which are prohibited by the Pensions Act.
- One audit of a registered administrator was conducted, relating to a delay in issuing pension documents to members.
- 494 of the 553 defined benefit schemes subject to the funding standard, satisfied the standard as at 31 December 2021. All bar four of the remaining 59 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.
- Five funding proposals from DB schemes were approved.
- Over 263,000 data submissions from regulated entities were processed through the Authority’s Pension Data Register.
Support, information and guidance
Over 10,400 general pension and data processing queries were received and dealt with during the year.
Following the transposition of the EU Directive IORP II into Irish law, the Authority issued further information and guidance as follows:
- A Code of Practice for trustees of occupational pension schemes and trust RACs,
- 2021 Engagement Programme Findings Report,
- An employer guide to defined contribution master trusts,
- A FAQs document on investment and borrowing for one-member arrangements,
- Information on:
- the annual compliance statement,
- trustees’ outsourcing notification obligations and how to advise the Authority of the appointment of key function holders,
- the timing of the own-risk assessment (ORA),
- the defined benefit financial risk measure,
- the courses that meet the Authority’s requirements for trustee qualifications.
The Authority published this information and other communications relevant to its regulated entities on its website www.pensionsauthority.ie.
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For further information, contact:
Head of Operations
The Pensions Authority
Tel: (01) 613 1900