You will appreciate that it would not be appropriate for me to comment on matters relating to a particular pension scheme. However, I can advise that the provision in the trust deed/scheme rules will determine the pension rights of scheme members. Where a pension scheme operates across EU Member States, the employees who are employed in a different Member State (i.e., the host Member State) may be subject to certain provisions (i.e., the social and labour law relevant to the field of occupational pensions) in that Member State which may provide for a different level of protection of pension rights. You will be aware that I have introduced a range of measures in recent years to assist employers and trustees of pension schemes to ensure that pension provision is sustainable and that the rights of scheme members are secure into the future. These concerns have underpinned the recent amendments provided for in the Social Welfare and Pensions (No. 2) Act 2013. In developing this legislation, serious consideration was given to imposing an obligation on employers to secure a minimum level of scheme funding. It was decided not to proceed with such a measure given the current economic circumstances, uncertainties as to the overall impact of such a measure and the potential for unintended consequences. I should advise that the recent changes to the Pension Act are underpinned by additional measures which are being put in place by the Pensions Authority to assist pension schemes achieve a sustainable funding position.
The Funding Standard requirements as set out in the Pensions Act require the trustees of a pension scheme to have sufficient resources in the scheme to meet its liabilities in the event of it being wound up. In addition, from 2016 all defined benefit schemes will be required to maintain additional resources in the form of a risk reserve in order to protect the rights of scheme members against future volatility in financial markets.