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IAPF urges Government “not to take their foot off the gas” when it comes to Pension Reform

30/05/2019 Posted by IAPF | Comments(0)

“We don’t have time to halt progress over the Summer months when we are already behind on the actions outlined in the Pensions Roadmap and Auto-enrolment”

 

The Government has now missed 29 of the 35 target deadlines it set out in its Roadmap for Pensions Reform, and has fallen behind in its ambitious plans to roll out a much-needed universal pension scheme for workers in the country. This was the assertion made by the pension saver representative body, the IAPF, at their Annual DC Conference held today (Thursday May 30th, 2019) in the Printworks Conference Centre Dublin Castle. The overarching tone of the symposium was one of urgency, from both the speakers and the 250+ attendees who came together to deliberate over issues facing DC pension schemes in Ireland today.

Addressing the audience, which comprised of over 250 trustees, pension scheme managers, HR and finance managers, policymakers and pension practitioners, Eunice Dreelan, Chairperson, IAPF, said,

With just 6 of 35 deadlines set out in the Roadmap for Pension Reform 2018 – 2023 met by the Government, I believe it is fair to say that the mood of optimism that was felt at the launch of the Roadmap last year has changed to one of frustration. We are asking Government to continue its consultation, to ensure the aspirations of full pension coverage for workers in Ireland is effectively achieved.

 

All stakeholders should be looking at this through the prism of the pension timebomb that is ever present in Ireland today. This is a can that we cannot afford to kick down the road. We need to keep momentum going if we are going to get the policies that are needed across the line. The Government simply cannot take their foot off the gas. Practically speaking, items on the public agenda often come to an abrupt halt over the Summer months, but we cannot afford to let this happen”.

 

IORP II

 

The IAPF say that one of the most urgent matters that demands attention, is the need to transpose the IORP II Directive. IORP II will introduce new governance and disclosure requirements for occupational pension plans within the EU.

 

The Government missed the January deadline, and as a result the European Commission initiated infringement proceedings against Ireland for failure to transpose it”.

 

The IAPF say that it is paramount that the transposition is proportionate, with sufficient timelines in place for smaller pension schemes that may not be in a position to immediately comply with the new requirements to migrate to alternative pension structures.

 

While the Government has indicated that it does not intend to avail of the derogation, we do not think that this is the most appropriate course of action at this time. Adding onerous and costly regulatory requirements to smaller schemes throughout the country at this time will result in employers opting to simply discontinue these schemes, without putting any alternatives in place, instead favouring to wait until the auto-enrolment initiative is rolled out – which  at the earliest will be 3 years from now”.

 

The IAPF contend that the IORP II allows for the implementation, in many instances, to be applied in a manner that is proportionate to the size, nature, scale and complexity of scheme activities and that Ireland was instrumental in having this wording inserted into this Directive to reflect the differing nature and scale of schemes across Europe.

 

While we fully support consumer protection measures, pension funds and trustees are struggling under the pressure of increasing regulation, and we would argue that this is not always necessary or proportionate to what is needed”.

Ends

About the IAPF Established in 1973, the Irish Association of Pension Funds (IAPF) is a non-profit, non-commercial organisation representing pension savers, whose aim is to ensure we have a secure, fair and simple system of pension provision in Ireland.

 

 

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