Wednesday, 6 February 2019
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
197. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her plans to introduce a pension traceability system to ensure that on retirement persons are able to benefit from different pension schemes they paid into over the course of their working life; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5790/19]
198. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated amount of private pension funds that remain unclaimed for a variety of reasons (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5791/19]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 197 and 198 together.
My Department has arrangements in place to assist with member tracing. Where the administrator of a pension scheme or a life company is unable to trace a member using their own resources they can use my Department’s host mailing service. Following discussions between my Department, the Pensions Authority and the Irish Association of Pension Funds, a revised protocol was put in place in October 2013. The protocol sets out the Department’s requirements for organisations using the host mailing service. The pension provider must have made an unsuccessful attempt to contact the scheme member. The Department will forward letters to the last known address of the member based on its records if this address differs from that which the pension provider has.
From 2013 (relating to the 2012 tax year), P35 returns from employers are collecting the Pensions Authority reference number of any scheme operated by the employer to which the employees contribute. The collection of this data will, in time, facilitate a linkage of an employee’s PPSN with the reference number(s) of the scheme of which they were a member.
There is currently no tracking service in Ireland that will allow deferred scheme members to trace their pension entitlements. Such a system is likely to be costly to establish. My Department’s meetings with industry have indicated that in many cases they can find owners of funds through their own searches or by utilising the Department’s host mailing system. As such, they may be reluctant to take on the costs of providing information and maintaining data in a tracking service at this stage.
My Department does not collect data on the value of unclaimed private pension funds.
I hope that this clarifies matters for the Deputy.