Deadline looms for Irish DC schemes switching to master trusts

Irish DC schemes that are transferring to master trusts have just four weeks left to complete the process before the Pensions Authority’s end-of-year deadline.

Under the Pensions Authority's rules, pension funds that made a formal commitment before 1 January 2023 to wind up and transfer the assets of the scheme to a master trust, or PRSA, are not required to meet the new IORP II requirements, as long as the transfer is completed, and the scheme wound up, by the end of 2023.

With this deadline now looming, European Pensions approached the Pensions Authority to clarify whether there will be any leniency for schemes in the process of transferring to the master trust that miss the deadline.

In response, a spokesperson for the Pensions Authority said: “We have no additional comment to make other than to reiterate that schemes should have been compliant by end of 2022 and have had 2023 to wind up and transfer to a master trust or PRSA.”

However, Irish Association of Pension Funds (IAPF) CEO, Jerry Moriarty, believes that there could be some leniency for schemes in the process of transferring.

“It is certainly not going to extend deadlines but I think the authority will be quite pragmatic if schemes are still in the process because it’s not always straightforward depending on the structure of the scheme. There are lots of things that can hold it up… but it won’t have any patience for schemes that have done nothing. That’s fair enough as we have been talking about this for years,” he said.

Moriarty said there has been a “very significant move to master trusts, probably even more than people were expecting”.

“I think some of the schemes that have moved are relatively big, I think people weren’t expecting that level of schemes to move, so that’s been interesting,” he said.

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