Pensions Update - February 2012

Author:Ms Peggy Hughes and Deborah McHugh
Profession:Mason Hayes & Curran

During 2009 and 2010, a number of extensions were granted to the statutory deadlines for submission of funding proposals. A funding proposal is a recovery plan which must be submitted to the Pensions Board when a defined benefit pension scheme fails to meet the statutory funding standard. Effectively, there is currently no deadline for making such submissions. On 28 October 2011, the Irish government announced changes to the funding standard for defined benefit schemes. On foot of that announcement, the Pensions Board was due to publish revised guidelines for defined benefit schemes in deficit and to announce new deadlines by which schemes in deficit must submit a recovery plan to the Board. Additionally, in October 2011, the Pensions Board published certification conditions for sovereign annuities. A sovereign annuity is an annuity contract issued by insurance companies where the annual income payment is linked directly to payments under bonds issued by Ireland or any other EU Member State. Sovereign annuities can only be purchased by the trustees of occupational pension schemes. The following updates should be read against this backdrop.

Re-Introduction of Funding Standard Obligations for Defined Benefit Pension Schemes

On 19 January 2012, the Pensions Board announced that it hopes to publish revised guidelines on defined benefit schemes with funding deficits and deadlines by which underfunded schemes must submit funding proposals to the Board. This information has been eagerly awaited for some time and the Board apologised for the delay in publication. Click here for a full Pensions Board update.

Sovereign Annuity Regulations

  1. The Occupational Pension Schemes...

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