Summary of Pensions Authority regulatory activity for 2022
13 March 2023: Today, the Pensions Authority publishes its summary of regulatory activity for 2022.
Non-compliance by regulated entities can result in prosecution. In 2022, the Authority concluded five prosecution cases and secured a conviction in one case. This case related to the deduction and non-remittance of employee pension contributions to a scheme within the statutory timeframe (section 58A(1) of the Pensions Act 1990, as amended (the Act)).
The remaining cases were struck out due to payment of arrears or the underlying matter being rectified in advance of the court date.
Regulatory activity for 2022 at a glance
- 15 new investigations were opened into various alleged breaches of the Act. The alleged breaches varied from deduction and non-remittance of pension contributions to failure to pay benefits.
- 17 investigations were finalised and closed during the year.
- 19 engagement meetings were held with the trustee boards of master trusts (MTs). The meetings focused on ensuring that MTs were fit for purpose and able to offer a viable alternative to schemes that chose to wind-up rather than meet the increased governance and risk management requirements. A report on the compliance of MTs following the 1 July 2022 compliance deadline was published in August 2022.
- 8 engagement meetings were held with the trustee boards of defined benefit (DB) and defined contribution (DC) pension schemes. These focused on how well-prepared schemes were to meet the enhanced governance and risk management requirements in advance of the compliance deadline of 1 January 2023 for group schemes. The key findings identified during the engagement process were published in the engagement and audit findings report in December 2022.
- 160 DB and 160 DC trustees were surveyed to assess their plans to meet the enhanced governance and risk management requirements. In summary, the survey findings indicated that there was still work to be done by trustees to ensure compliance ahead of the 1 January 2023 deadline for group schemes. A report on the survey findings was published in October 2022.
- A sample of group schemes and one-member arrangements (OMAs) were subject to spot checks on the 2021 annual compliance statement (ACS). The audit found that most schemes were compliant in preparing the ACS although there was an evident lack of understanding of the ACS requirements and process amongst trustees of smaller schemes. The findings were published in the engagement and audit findings report in December 2022.
- The Authority conducted a series of compliance audits on OMAs throughout 2022, including on small self-administered schemes (SSAPs).
- Following the 1 July 2022 compliance deadline, the Authority conducted a number of offsite and onsite inspections of OMAs established after 21 April 2021 (new OMAs) to assess their compliance status. Overall, findings showed that the majority of trustees audited did not meet the compliance standards and in almost all instances, the trustees notified the Authority of their intention to wind up the OMAs and transfer them to a personal retirement savings account (PRSA) or MT.
- A sample of one-member small self-administered pension schemes were audited to assess whether investments and borrowings made after 21 April 2021 were compliant with the restrictions introduced by the IORP II directive. The Authority found no instances of non-compliance.
The findings of the OMA audits were published in the engagement and audit findings report in December 2022.
- 10 registered administrators were audited for compliance with their duties under the Act. No substantive non-compliance was found.
- 498 of the 533 DB schemes subject to the funding standard, satisfied the standard at 31 December 2022. All but five of the remaining 35 schemes have funding proposals, or are in the process of submitting funding proposals, designed to enable the scheme to satisfy the funding standard within a specified term. The Authority will directly engage with any scheme that fails to submit a funding proposal.
- No funding proposals from DB schemes were approved in 2022.
- Over 305,000 data submissions from regulated entities were processed through the Authority’s Pensions Data Register (PDR).
Support, information and guidance
Over 11,000 general pension and data processing queries were received and dealt with during the year.
During the year the Authority issued further information and guidance relevant to its regulated entities. All material issued was published on the news section of the Authority’s website.
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For further information, contact:
Head of Operations
The Pensions Authority
Tel: (01) 613 1900