Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Questions (458, 465)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

458. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Social Protection if the pension benefits are secure in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 5; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23148/14]

View answer

Terence Flanagan

Question:

465. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Social Protection the position regarding pensions in an organisation (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23227/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 458 and 465 together.

The Deputy will appreciate that it is not appropriate for me to comment on matters relating to an individual pension scheme. Defined benefit pension schemes in Ireland are generally established under trust and the trustees of such pension schemes have a fiduciary duty under Trust Law to act in the best interests of all scheme members. A member of a scheme who has queries in relation to that scheme should contact the trustees in writing as they are responsible for its management.

I am very aware of the serious funding challenge facing many pension schemes at this time. A number of measures have been put in place in recent years to assist both the employer and the trustees of pension schemes respond to the difficulties encountered by many pension schemes. At the end of last year, I amended the Pension Act to provide for a more equitable distribution of scheme resources in the event of the wind up of a pension scheme. I also extended the options available to the trustee to restructure scheme benefits.

One of the key measures provided for policing the funding position of defined benefit pension schemes is the Funding Standard requirement as set out in Part IV of the Pensions Act. Under the Funding Standard, the trustees of a pension scheme are required to maintain sufficient assets to meet the liabilities of the scheme in the event of the wind up of a scheme.

The Pension Regulator supervises compliance with the provision in the Pensions Act and is actively engaged with the schemes which do not meet this requirement in order to assist schemes, particularly those in a weak funding position, achieve a more sustainable funding position.