IRELAND/UK – Anne Maher, the head of the Irish pensions regulator, has been appointed to the UK’s Professional Oversight Board for Accountancy.

Maher, chief executive of Ireland’s Pensions Board, is one of seven appointees to the board, set up to provide independent oversight of the auditing and accountancy profession.

Maher is a board member of the Irish Accounting and Auditing Supervisory Authority and the Irish Health Insurance Authority. She is also a member of the FTSE Policy Group as well as a governor of UK’s Pensions Policy Institute.

“I am very delighted with the quality and diversity of experience of the people we have been able to identify for the Board,” said Sir Bryan Nicholson, chairman of the Financial Reporting Council, of the new appointments.

The other appointees to the UK board are: Tim Barker, Roger Davis, Stella Fearnley, Gareth Jones, Michael Jones and Sarah Wood.

Earlier this month the Pensions Board said that Ireland’s new Personal Retirement Savings Accounts had made “steady progress”. As at the end of December 2003, 19,022 PRSA pensions had been taken out with a value of 41 million euros.

More than 58,000 employers have signed up with a PRSA provider to provide pension access for their employees, it added.

Maher said: “After little over half a year in existence PRSA take-up is showing steady progress. This is the beginning of a long process to raise pensions coverage in Ireland.”

The Pensions Board is carrying out random and target monitoring of employers who do not have occupational pension schemes registered with the Board and who have not designated a PRSA provider.