Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Questions (336, 337)

Stephen Donnelly

Question:

336. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for Social Protection if her attention has been drawn to the fact that the Pensions Board has advised it is not qualified to determine whether an Act of the Oireachtas establishing a pension scheme has been complied with and that, as it is limited to the Pensions Act, it does not have the power to ensure the trustees carry out the duties imposed on them by that Act (details supplied); the actions she proposes taking to provide the Pensions Board with the competence necessary to fulfil its statutory obligation under the Pensions Act to ensure that trustees carry out the duties imposed on them by all law including the Pensions Act and to enable it to meet its key objective of providing authoritative guidance aimed at achieving voluntary compliance with the Pensions Act and other relevant legislation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24530/14]

View answer

Stephen Donnelly

Question:

337. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for Social Protection if her attention has been drawn to the fact that her Department supports the conclusion by the Pensions Board that a complaint of failure by the trustees to comply with the law, trust deed and rules when amending the benefit structure of active members of a pension scheme does not fall within the board's remit and the accusation by the board chairperson that the complainant made very serious allegations against a number of parties including the board (details supplied); if she will provide information on the criteria used and reasons for deciding the complaint falls outside the board's remit as well as details of and justification for the very serious allegations the chairperson has accused the complainant of making; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24531/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 336 and 337 together.

The Deputy will appreciate that it would not be appropriate for me to comment on issues arising in a particular pension scheme.

Pension schemes in Ireland are generally established under trust law and are therefore governed by the trust deed and rules of the scheme. In this context, the trustees of the scheme must comply with the rules of the scheme and under trust law are required to act in the best interest of all scheme members.

In addition to the requirement imposed on the trustees of a pension scheme under trust deed, the trustees of a pension scheme are required to comply with the provisions in the Pensions Act. The Pensions Authority is responsible for the monitoring and supervision of the provisions in the Pensions Act. This responsibility does not extend to the supervision of the trust deed or scheme rules. Remedies exist within trust law for any breach of the trust deed.

I am aware that the Pensions Regulator has reviewed the matter the Deputy has raised and, in addition, senior officials in my department have separately reviewed this matter and have indicated that the matter does not come within the competence of Pensions Authority.