IRELAND – Four in 10 Irish pension funds expected to submit funding proposals to the country’s regulator have yet to do so, according to figures released by the Pensions Board.

Responding to an enquiry from opposition party Fianna Fail, the Board’s chief executive Brendan Kennedy confirmed that 120 funds had yet to submit funding proposals or demonstrated they were not required to do so.

The figure, a significant drop from a month ago, nonetheless means 40% of affected schemes are nearly six weeks’ late in submitting funding proposals, leaving questions as to what action the regulator can take.

Kennedy told Michael McGrath, the opposition finance spokesman, in the letter dated 9 August: “The Pensions Board has been in touch with the trustees of all these schemes to ascertain the current position and whether a funding proposal is likely to be submitted in the short term.”

He added that while it recognised the “very difficult” position many DB funds found themselves in, their failure to meet the deadline was nonetheless a “serious matter”.

“The Pensions Board is considering what action it might take,” Kennedy said. “This might involve action against the trustees, reductions in scheme benefits or the wind-up of the scheme.”

Seemingly echoing minister for social protection Joan Burton’s previous comments that the Board would decide its next steps on a “measured basis” and take account of individual circumstances, Kennedy added: “Any decision will be made case by case, and the specific circumstances of each scheme will be fully considered.”

Despite nearly 40% of funds failing to comply, the number in breach of the 30 June deadline for submitting funding proposals has fallen by nearly 100 since last month.

In a ministerial statement on 18 July, minister for social protection Joan Burton told the Dáil that 212 of the 300 funds required to file proposals had failed to do so.