IRELAND – The Irish pensions regulator says it is too soon to say how many companies fulfilled their legal requirement to sign a Personal Retirement Savings Account contract by September 15.

“It’s too soon to say,” said Pensions Board head of information Mary Hutch. “We won’t have the returns until the end of the month and they won’t be processed until late October.” She said there was anecdotal evidence that around 14,000 contracts had been signed recently.

“Obviously we’re happy to hear from providers that they have been busy,” she said. The Board would monitor the situation closely. Employers who do not sign a PRSA contract are in breach of the Pensions Act.

Meanwhile the Pensions Board and the Revenue Commissioners have approved three new PRSAs, one from New Ireland Assurance Co./Bank of Ireland and two from Eagle Star Life Assurance.
The Pensions Board has also published a new consumer guide for PRSAs called “Personal Retirement Savings Accounts (PRSAs)- a Consumer Guide”. A third booklet, “What are my pensions options?” is being distributed.

The board’s chief executive, Anne Maher, said: “The Board will continue to communicate with all those who need pension coverage through a National Pensions Awareness Campaign. This PRSA consumer booklet is a key step to encourage flexible retirement savings in Ireland and increase pension coverage for everyone”.

Elsewhere, Ireland’s Pensions Ombudsman, Paul Kenny, is set to discuss his role at the Irish Association of Pension Funds’ “Adequacy & governance Conference” in Dublin on September 24.