The Irish government has yet to legislate for the introduction of IORP II, meaning trustees do not have enough time to comply with its requirements, the Irish Association of Pension Funds (IAPF) has warned.

“The government has not granted pension trustees and employers any opportunity to consult on how the directive should be implemented”

Peter Fahy, IAPF

At the association’s annual governance conference this week, the IAPF said the government had been focusing too much on other aspects of pension reform, leaving just six weeks to legislate for and implement governance rules stemming from the EU directive.

It called for a temporary exemption from new IORP II rules for schemes with 100 members or fewer, until they were able to access master trusts or auto-enrolment structures.

Peter Fahy, chairperson of the IAPF, said: “The government is way behind schedule when it comes to the IORP II directive.

“They have left it extremely late to act and have not granted pension trustees and employers any opportunity to consult on how the directive, which provides for proportionate implementation, should be implemented in Ireland.

“Assuming the government meets the implementation deadline at this late stage, it will still not allow trustees any realistic opportunity of complying with the new requirements by the 13 January deadline.”

He added that, without an exemption or alternative arrangements, employers with small schemes could discontinue pension provision completely.

“This is clearly not in the interests of the members of those schemes,” Fahy said.

Consultants and regulator The Pensions Authority have previously warned that IORP II placed an onerous compliance burden on pension scheme trustee boards, given Ireland’s relatively small pensions sector.

The new rules include ‘fit and proper’ tests for trustees, written policies on key areas of risk management and outsourced services, and minimum standards for communication with members.

The Pensions Authority published guidance for trustees regarding what to expect from the IORP II directive at the start of October, but it must be transposed into Irish law by January.