Few trustees comply with obligation to train for role
MANY pension trustees are totally unaware of their obligations as new legislation comes into effect later this week, experts have warned.
Company directors and the people who oversee pension schemes have been warned that they could be prosecuted unless they comply with legislative requirements to complete training.
This Saturday is the deadline to have finished pension fund trustee training, experts said.
Independent trustee company said that some company directors and trustees associated with many smaller pension schemes may not realise that they have not complied with the legalisation and could be prosecuted.
In most schemes, company directors act as trustees.
Managing director of Independent Trustee Company Aidan McLoughlin said: "Since February 2010 an employer operating an occupational pension scheme is obliged to arrange appropriate training for all pension trustees.
"The training requirement applies to all occupational pension schemes and there is no exemption for one member schemes – in essence, some people are obliged to send themselves on trustee training to ensure that they have the appropriate skills and knowledge to advise themselves," Mr McLoughlin added.
Trustees must receive the appropriate retraining every two years – so the next deadline falls on Saturday, he said.
Mr McLoughlin added: "The legalisation not only applies to large company pension schemes with hundreds of members, but also to small individual pension schemes often with only a handful of members.
Of the 61,000 schemes in existence less than 1,000 have more than 50 members.
Typically, training is required for at least two people per scheme. With a deadline of February 1, an estimated 60,000 small firms have to act now to remain compliant, the pensions expert said.
Mr McLoughlin said: "We have experienced a surge is training requests over the last 10 days particularly for online training. However we believe that tens of thousands could still be exposed to on-the-spot fines of up to €2,000.
"Even newly appointed trustees must receive training within 6 months of their appointment in order to comply with regulatory requirements."