Pensions Winter Update

Author:Arthur Cox
Profession:Arthur Cox

Authors: Philip Smith, Catherine Austin, Sarah McCague, Michael Shovlin, Daniel Watters, Aisling Ryan and Grace Moore

Social Welfare, Pensions and Civil Registration Act 2018 (the "SWPA 2018") The SWPA 2018 was signed into law on 24 December 2018. It deals with the usual business of revising social welfare and state pension rates (effective from March 2019) and also provides for equal benefit rights for same sex couples. The SWPA 2018 did not deal with many of the previously proposed amendments to the Pensions Act such as minimum notice periods for pension scheme wind-ups and 'debt on the employer'. It is possible that those amendments will be reintroduced when a similar bill goes through the Oireachtas in 2019.

Brexit In light of the political uncertainty surrounding Brexit, and (at time of publication) the possibility of a delayed Brexit, the immediate impact of Brexit on the pensions sector as a whole is not currently known. Regardless of whether there is a deal or no deal Brexit, the UK leaving the EU may have an impact on certain overseas investments (in particular those serviced through the UK), insurance and cross-border schemes. Trustees, with their investment advisors, should consider whether steps ought to be taken, for example, to novate existing agreements with UK managers and custodians to other EU affiliates or agree delegation or sub-delegation arrangements to affiliates.

IORP II IORP II (Directive (EU) 2016/2341) ("IORP II" or the "Directive") was required to be transposed into Irish law on 13 January 2019. Regulations under the Pensions Act are currently being drafted to transpose the Directive into Irish law. Codes of practice in relation to IORP II will be issued by the Pensions Authority. It is expected that these regulations and codes of practice will not be published until at least the end of March 2019.

IORP II: direct effect for emanations of the State From 13 January 2019, IORP II has direct effect on emanations of the State. This means that although the implementing domestic regulations have not yet been introduced, IORP II is directly effective against bodies considered to be under the control of the State that provide public services where the relevant provisions of the Directive are sufficiently clear, precise and unconditional. While EU directives are not directly effective against individuals (including private sector pension schemes or the trustees of same), in the event of a dispute ending up before the...

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