Thursday 17 October 2019

Call for dedicated minister as pension plans stall

Stock photo: PA
Stock photo: PA

Charlie Weston Personal Finance Editor

AN organisation that represents pension savers has raised concerns about what it said was the slow pace of progress on pension reform.

The Irish Association of Pension Funds (IAPF) said the Government's Pension Roadmap, which outlines strategies for reform of pensions, was behind schedule.

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The 'roadmap' plan was announced with fanfare almost two years ago.

But the IAPF said it was fearful that pensions reform had fallen off the Government's agenda. It called for the Government to appoint a pensions minister. Chief executive of the IAPF Jerry Moriarty said the Government had met eight out of 36 of its target dates set out in the Pensions Roadmap.

"The sheer scale and urgency of this issue is such that it needs a dedicated focus and we therefore believe that a minister for pensions should be appointed, as has been done in a number of other European countries," he said.

Mr Moriarty told the annual benefit conference of the IAPF that work had been undertaken on the pension plans by Government departments.

He said: "However, we are increasingly concerned that much of this work may have slowed in recent months and could ultimately be derailed until after the next election.

"It is disappointing that most of this work remains unseen and appears to have lost its political direction."

Mr Moriarty said the lack of progress on the roadmap and the failure to transpose the European Pensions Directive into Irish law nine months after it was due do not instil any confidence that pensions are seen as a high priority.

He added: "We are 18 months into a detailed plan and the Government has only met eight of the 36 actions that were due to be delivered by now. We need to work together to ensure that current and future generations can have pensions that are secure, fair and simple."

He said having a dedicated pensions minister would strengthen the focus on retirement planning, rather than just being a small part of a very big department.

Attendees at the event listened to how the Pensions Roadmap had the potential to deliver real improvements for pension savers and to those who have yet to commence saving. Part of the strategy is to have an auto-enrolment pension system in place for all those who do not have an occupational pension or a private plan, from 2022.

Irish Independent

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