The Pensions Authority (the Authority) has recently released an update which includes information around Annual Compliance Statements (ACS), Pension Benefit Statements (PBS), the EOIPA stress test exercise and several key deadlines for pensions schemes.
Annual Compliance Statement
Under the Pensions Act 1990 (as amended) (the Act), trustees are required to prepare their 2022 ACS by the 31 January 2023. The 2022 form remains the same as the form used for the 2021 ACS. There is no requirement to submit the 2022 ACS to the Authority in 2023. However, the Authority will be carrying out randomised audits and checks on this. Therefore, trustees must remember that it may be an offence to not prepare the ACS. The Authority will require trustees to digitally submit the 2023 ACS to the Authority in February 2024.
Pension Benefit Statement
The Authority will not require a Pension Benefit Statement (PBS) to be prepared with an effective date earlier than 1 January 2023. This is provided that the trustees/registered administrators continue to provide annual benefit statements andstatements of reasonable projection to active members in the case of DC schemes. Guidance will be issued on calculation assumptions for the PBS by the end of July this year.
EOIPA stress test exercise
The Authority sent letters in early May to trustees of the Irish schemes falling within the scope of the 2022 EIOPA stress test exercise to highlight the requirement to provide information to the Authority. These reporting templates must be completed in full by selected schemes and submitted to the Authority by 13 June 2022. Any queries on these and completed templates should be emailed to email@example.com
Interpretation of ‘regulated markets’ requirement
The revised definition of ‘regulated markets’ on non-EEA investment holdings of schemes is currently being investigated by the Authority. The Authority acknowledges, however, that schemes may choose to defer consequent investment or related decisions until this investigation is concluded.
Use of electronic communications
In accordance with the Act, trustees are permitted to provide information to members or beneficiaries using electronic means. The Authority confirmed that it is up to trustees to determine how they comply with the related Electronic Commerce Act 2000 (the ECA) requirements and what type of consent is required from members to receive information electronically. The Authority’s standpoint is that trustees should consider the profile and experience of their own scheme membership when deciding whether active or passive consent is most appropriate.
Survey of DB and DC schemes
The Authority is conducting a survey of DB and DC schemes in June to assess progress on IORP II preparedness. The data will be collected anonymously, and the findings will be published on the Authority’s website in September 2022.
Information for master trusts
Following queries raised with the Authority by trustees, founders and service providers, the Authority is issuing further information for master trusts on 30 May 2022.
The following schemes are obliged to comply in full with the Act by 1 July 2022.
- Master trusts - schemes with unrelated participating employers
- One Member arrangements established on or after 22 April 2021, and
- Any new scheme established on or after 1 July 2022.
All other schemes and trust RACs will be required to be in full compliancy by 1 January 2023, noting that certain derogations apply to one member arrangements established pre 22 April 2021.
Ensuring compliance and meeting the various deadlines is an essential part of effectively and efficiently managing your scheme. For more information and expert advice, contact a member of our Pensions team.
The content of this article is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal or other advice.