Written answers

Wednesday, 21 September 2022

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

Pensions Reform

Photo of Gerald NashGerald Nash (Louth, Labour)
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90. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her plans to hold a pension market review in view of the significant changes and ongoing issues within the sector; her views as to whether or not a full review including consultation with the public and relevant stakeholders is necessary; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46239/22]

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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As the Deputy will be aware, regulations transposing requirements of the IORP II Directive came into effect in April of last year which set out minimum standards for the management and supervision of pension schemes, with the objective of ensuring the soundness of occupational pensions and better protections for scheme members and beneficiaries. The implementation of IORP II is expected to result in structural changes to how the market operates in the medium term.

In addition, work is already under way by Government on other pensions policy initiatives which are briefly detailed below.

The Roadmap for Pensions Reform 2018 - 2023 provides for major reform of State, occupational, private and public service pensions by setting out specific measures presented under six strands that, taken together, seek to modernise our pension system while continuing to target resources at those most in need. The five year Roadmap will provide for improvements in the governance and supervision of public and private pensions as well as the simplification of the wider pension system. Work is ongoing on advancing the recommendations contained in the Roadmap.

Following on from the publication of the Roadmap for Pensions Reform, in November 2020, the Interdepartmental Pensions Reform and Taxation Group’s (IDPRTG) Report on supplementary pensions was published. The Report contained 42 recommendations and conclusions aimed at advancing the goal of simplifying and harmonising the supplementary pension landscape which will reduce complexity, enhance market competitiveness and drive product efficiencies. Many of the IDPRTG recommendations have already been implemented with a cross-Departmental Implementation Group continuing its work on progressing other recommendations.

The Deputy will also be aware that, in fulfilment of a commitment in the Programme from Government, the Pensions Commissions was established in November 2020 to examine the sustainability of the State Pension system and the Social Insurance Fund. The Pension Commission's Report, published in October 2021, is a comprehensive and authoritative report based on various analyses of population, labour force and expenditure projective; an examination of international approaches, and responses to an extensive consultation process. Following extensive and detailed consideration of the Report recommendations, and consultation across Government through the Cabinet Committee structure, a recommended response and implementation plan was submitted to Government to decision. As the Deputy will be aware, yesterday I announced a series of landmark reforms to the State Pension system in Ireland.

In addition to the above, another key initiative is the introduction of an auto-enrolment (AE) retirement savings system. In March of this year, the Government approved the final design principles for the AE system and my officials are continuing to progress a range of elements of the overall implementation plan. In progressing this work, the Department is receiving technical support from the European Commission’s DG Reform, which assists EU member states implementing administrative and institutional reforms. A general scheme for the legislation has been approved by the Government and work in this regard is ongoing in conjunction with the Office of Parliamentary Counsel.

It is not intended to undertake a pension market review at this time as the Government’s priority is to continue to advance the work detailed above which will bring about significant changes to the pension market in Ireland and aims to improve retirement outcomes for pension savers.


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