Irish Life to close DB scheme despite €150m surplus
Written by Talya Misiri
Ireland's largest pension provider Irish Life will be closing its defined benefit pension scheme despite having a €150m surplus.
According to the Irish Independent, Irish Life unions are urgently seeking legal ammendments to stop the company closing its staff scheme, which comprises of around 2,200 pensioners and former employees yet to reach retirement.
The DB scheme offers a pension of two-thirds of employees' salary at the age of 65, for those with 40 years'service.
A briefing document by Unite trade union noted that: "The scheme has assets of €1bn, comfortably meets the minimum funding standard, and had a surplus of €150m at the last actuarial valuation."
Instead, it has been revealed that Irish Life DB staff members will have their future contributions made to a defined contribution scheme. In order to match the promised benefits of the closing scheme, staff would have to contribute up to 40 per cent of earnings.
"For future service benefits, the employees are forced to take all the risk, while the company takes none," the note, written by Unite officer Joe Conroy said.
In addition, Conroy added that the union are calling for pension protections to be put in place against firms closing DB schemes when they are financially healthy and capable of funding.
The Irish Independent explained that the pension provider has had a number of meetings with union and non-union representative groups to discuss its plans and talks are ongoing.