Dáil debates

Thursday, 22 September 2022

Pensions (Amendment) (Transparency in Charges) Bill 2021: Second Stage [Private Members]


5:15 pm

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I have listened to the contributions of Deputies Nash and Kerrane. I again thank Deputy Nash for giving the House the opportunity to debate this important issue. I know it is an issue in which the Deputy has a keen interest.

I will reiterate some of the points I made earlier. We all know that improved pension cost transparency and better outcomes for pension savers are always desirable. It is a complex world when one starts to look at pensions. If one goes to someone to get advice about pensions, one needs to be awake because there is a fair bit of information to take in. The closer one gets to pension age, the more conscious one becomes of how important it is. That is why I would encourage young people who are starting off to save a little and do so often to try to build up that pension pot.

The availability of comprehensive and transparent information on costs and charges helps consumers to decide whether investments represent value for money. As I said, since 2021 trustees are required to provide scheme members with an annual pension benefit statement containing key information about the pension scheme, including pension projections and a breakdown of the costs incurred over the past 12 months.

As I said, the Government is progressing work on a number of key pension policy initiatives that will, among other things, improve the transparency of pension costs. This work includes advancing reforms as set out in the roadmap for pensions reform, progressing recommendations set out in the interdepartmental pension and taxation reform group report, the introduction of an auto-enrolment retirement savings scheme, and the implementation of a master trust regime. That will facilitate significant consolidation of pension schemes and the Pensions Council's report on cost transparency which, as I said, has been recently completed and is being looked at by my officials. As outlined, it is essential that any new proposals are considered in an integrated manner, taking account of the existing information-related requirements imposed on trustees as well as the various pension policy initiatives under way. This is to ensure that proposals do not add greater complexity and duplication for pension savers and schemes. The timed amendment will provide an opportunity to examine and consider the approach to the provision of charges related to information to pension scheme members.

I thank Deputies Nash and Kerrane for their contributions. Their Bill was well timed as this is a week when there is a big focus on pensions. It is also good that people realise they need to read the smaller print to make sure they are getting the information they need to make informed decisions. At the end of the day, everybody has to make their own decision but they need to make sure they have all the information that enables them to do so.


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