The Minister for Social Protection, Éamon Ó Cuív TD, this morning (
th May 2010
) addressed the Irish Association of Pension Funds conference in Dublin. The theme of the conference was
The Future of Defined Contribution Pensions – Making Promises we can Keep.
Speaking with delegates, Minister Ó Cuív said: “The National Pensions Framework is the Government’s plan for future pension reform and it encompasses all aspects of pensions, from social welfare to private occupational pensions and public sector pension reform. I am very aware of the difficulties faced by many pension schemes, both defined benefit and defined contribution, and their members, in recent times.”
The Minister added: “Since 2008, in particular, the Government has introduced a range of measures to assist pension schemes. In relation to defined contribution (DC) occupational schemes, the Government introduced measures in December 2008 to enable members of such schemes to defer the purchase of a retirement annuity with their pension funds for a specified period of two years. This measure, which is of benefit to people retiring from these schemes between 4 December 2008 and 31 December 2010 was introduced to allow time for funds to recover from recent losses before people must purchase an annuity.”
The National Pensions Framework provides for a number of changes to current arrangements, for example, the streamlining of arrangements to allow all DC arrangements access to similar options on retirement, changes to tax relief on pension contributions, simplification of existing pension arrangements and the information provided to scheme members. These changes are designed to encourage, support and to make pension provision more flexible and transparent. This will make it easier for people to understand their pension arrangements and the options open to them so that they can make informed choices.
Minister Ó Cuív concluded by outlining how the National Pensions Framework will be implemented. An implementation group, chaired by the Department of Social Protection, has been established to develop the legislative, regulatory and administrative infrastructure required and this will happen over a number of years.