The Irish government has issued a tender notice for administration services for the provision and operation of its automatic enrolment retirement savings scheme.

The contract – which is set for a duration of 10 years – covers “provision, design, build, customisation, testing, implementation, delivery, ongoing support and maintenance of the operation of administration” for the country’s auto enrolment scheme, the notice stated.

The move comes 15 years after auto-enrolment was first considered in Ireland, following the approval of the General Scheme of the Automatic Enrolment (AE) Retirement Savings System Bill last October.

The plan was to establish a central processing authority (CPA) to manage the auto-enrolment system – carrying out much of the administrative work and acting as a custodian for participants – and to have set up the system by the end of the year, with enrolments starting in 2024.

Jerry Moriarty

Jerry Moriarty at IAPF

There will be a separate tender for investment services later in the year, Jerry Moriarty, chief executive officer of the Irish Association of Pension Funds (IAPF), confirmed to IPE.

However, the CPA has not yet been formally established. “My understanding is that it will initially operate under the Department of Social Protection and then transferred to the CPA when it has been legally established,” Moriarty said.

He noted that it is “very positive” that auto-enrolment is “finally moving on” and that there should be an additional 800,000 people saving for retirement.

“It will also put more focus on pensions in the lead up to introduction and, over the 10 years that contributions get to the final levels, existing schemes will need to consider what changes they need to make in order to be equivalent to auto-enrolment,” he explained.

Moriarty told IPE that Q3 of 2024 “is going to be very challenging as there is a lot of infrastructure to put in place but, having talked about AE for so long, it is imperative that it starts as soon as possible”.

He stated that auto-enrolment “has proven to be successful elsewhere so there is no reason to think it will be any different [in Ireland]”.

He added: “While there can be many reasons people don’t save for retirement, apathy and the confusing nature of pensions are among the main ones. Having someone else do it for you addresses these.”

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