This section provides information on the requirements for occupational pension schemes and trust RACs (schemes) operating ‘cross-border’ in Ireland.
Part XII of the Pensions Act, 1990, as amended (the Act), allows schemes established in one Member State to accept, subject to certain conditions, transfers from schemes established or based in another Member State and contributions from employers whose relationship with their employees is governed by the social and labour law relevant to pensions of another Member State.
The European Union (Occupational Pension Schemes) Regulations, 2021 introduced operational changes to the existing cross-border provisions in the Act. These include requiring the Authority to give reasons for a decision not to grant approval to accept cross-border contributions from a particular employer and trustees now have appeal rights to the High Court in respect of this decision.
Irish schemes that want to operate cross-border
Trustees of Irish based schemes must apply to the Pensions Authority (the Authority) for authorisation before they can operate cross-border. Furthermore, before the trustees of an Irish scheme can begin accepting contributions from an overseas scheme, the trustees must notify the Authority within one month and supply the Authority with certain information, which is set out in regulations, about that overseas scheme. The Authority will assess the information and decide whether to give approval. When making the decision, the Authority must have regard to the administrative structure and financial position of the receiving scheme, as well as the fitness and probity of the scheme’s trustees.
A scheme based in another Member State that accepts a transfer from an Irish scheme must comply with Irish social and labour law relevant to Irish pension schemes in respect of the ‘cross-border members’, affected by the transfer. These laws are referred to as the ‘relevant statutory requirements’ in Irish law. In brief, these are Part III of the Act (Preservation of Benefits), Part V of the Act (Disclosure of Information), section 59B of the Act (Reduction in Benefit) and section 59C of the Act (Increases to Pensions in Payment).
Irish schemes accepting cross-border transfers and contributions
Trustees of Irish schemes who accept cross-border contributions or transfers must comply with the social and labour laws relevant to schemes, and the information and investment requirements of the other or ‘host’ Member State in respect of the cross-border members e.g., the Irish trustees must disclose information to the members in accordance with the information rules of the other Member State. The social and labour law relevant to pensions varies across Member States.
If a scheme wishes to engage in cross-border activity, it should seek further information and the appropriate application forms from the Authority by contacting email@example.com.