IRELAND - A government Bill outlining provisions for the transfer of assets from 14 university and state body pension schemes to the National Pension Reserve Fund (NPRF) has confirmed that the value of the assets will offset government contributions to the fund.

The Financial Measures (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2009 states that where a transfer order has been made against a "covered pension fund", the value of the assets transferred "shall be taken to be in satisfaction or part-satisfaction, as the case requires, of the obligation of the Minister for Finance under section 18(2) of the Act of 2000 to make contributions to the Reserve Fund in the current year".

In addition, the Bill said if the aggregate value of the pension funds transferred to the NPRF is more than the scheduled annual government contributions, the excess amount can be used against government contributions "to be paid into that Fund [NPRF] in any subsequent year or years".

The Bill - published last week and awaiting a date for the next stage - confirmed the pension schemes being transferred to the scheme will continue to operate although any changes to the rules of the schemes will have to be approved by the "relevant minister in relation to the scheme and the minister for finance".

Following the transfer of the pension schemes, expected to be take place in 2009 and 2010, contributions will continue to be paid as normal although the pension benefits will be met on a pay-as-you-go (PAYG) basis from the Exchequer.

The transfer of the assets was first announced in the supplementary budget in April, (see earlier IPE article: Ireland takes uni pensions to boost Treasury coffers) however the Bill has now revealed six university pensions and eight other covered pension funds will fall under the legislation, these are:

University of Dublin Trinity College Pension Fund University College Dublin Pension Fund University College Cork Pension Funds The Joint Pension Fund, National University of Ireland, Galway National University of Ireland, Maynooth Pension Plan National University of Ireland General Pension Scheme Fund Industrial development authority superannuation fund, run by Forfás Shannon Free Airport Development Company limited superannuation fund, run by SFADCo An Foras Áiseanna Saothair (closed) superannuation scheme fund, run by FÁS Irish goods council pension fund, run by Forfás An Bord Bia Superannuation fund Arts Council pension fund Regional tourism pension scheme fund, run by Fáilte Ireland Fáilte Ireland contributory pension and death benefits scheme (formerly known as CERT)

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