With effect from 1 February, 2010 when section 28 of the Social Welfare & Pensions Act, 2008 came into operation, every trustee must undertake trustee training in accordance with section 59AA of the Pensions Act, 1990 (as amended). Trustees are required to receive training within six months of their appointment and at least every two years thereafter. This includes all directors of a company which is acting as a corporate trustee. Where a person is already a trustee before the 1 February, 2010, the training will have to be completed before 1 February, 2012 and at least every two years thereafter. Where a trustee fails to undertake appropriate training, they may be subjected to an on-the-spot fine. An employer who operates a scheme is obliged to arrange for the trustees of that scheme to receive appropriate training and to pay the cost of such training. However, an employer is not required to arrange appropriate training for a pensioneer trustee, or a professional trustee. Where an employer breaches their obligation to provide appropriate training they may be prosecuted. Therefore, the trustee training requirements impose a training cost on Employers and a time cost for the time spent by employer / member trustees in completing their trustee training requirements.
Trust Law, Pension Acts (mention in excess of 90 Acts and Statutory Instruments which govern Pension Law in Ireland. Revenue also have published detailed and complex requirements surrounding the operation of Pension Schemes which have to be considered. The Pension landscape in Ireland is constantly evolving and changing and DTS are constantly reviewing and adapting to these changes to ensure that our Schemes remain compliant with all the various requirements.
The compliant operation of Irish Pension Schemes requires that a number of critical Statutory Deadlines are met each year (eg. the issue of Member Annual Benefit Statements, the signing and making available of the Trustee Annual Report (with Audited Accounts and Audit Report, where applicable), the issue of Leaving Service Options to members who leave service, provision of information on the granting of Pension Adjustment Orders, to name but a few). Accordingly, a pension scheme trustee must have processes and procedures in place to ensure that all of the required statutory deadlines are met in a timely manner.
The Pensions Authority have wide ranging powers to audit Irish pension schemes. The Pensions Authority continue to be pro-actively focused on ensuring compliance within Irish Pension Schemes and accordingly have substantially increased the number of audits carried out each year. This is greatly beneficial to the overall well-being of Irish Pension Schemes, however, such audits do require a considerable time investment by trustees. DTS regularly respond to such audits from the Pensions Authority and we ensure that all requested information and documentation is submitted in a timely manner. We will also attend at face-to-face audit meetings with the Pensions Authority where we are scheme trustee.
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