IRELAND - The Pensions Board has launched an e-learning system, to help trustees meet the training requirements coming into force next month.

There has previously been no requirement for formal trustee training in Ireland, but from 1 February 2010 all pension scheme trustees will be required to undertake training at least every two years. In addition, the Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2008 also requires employers to arrange training for trustees within six months of their appointment. (See earlier IPE article: Ireland to regulate 'poor' pensions admin)

To help trustees fulfil the requirements and avoid potential fines for breaches of the rules, the Pensions Board has developed an interactive e-learning course, which appears to be similar to the UK Pension Regulator's 'Trustee Toolkit'.

The Pensions Board revealed the online course is comprised of nine lessons covering the basics of pensions and trusteeship, through to more complex areas such as investment:

Understanding pensions; Being a trustee; Scheme rules, contributions and benefits; Running a scheme; Scheme financing for defined benefit schemes; Investing a scheme's assets; Administration and accounting; Member communication, and Managing problems.

Each section covers a number of topics and is completed by carrying out an assessment at the end of the lesson. Once all the assessments have been passed successfully the Board will issue a certificate to acknowledge completion of the training.

Brendan Kennedy, chief executive of the Pensions Board, said: "Our new e-learning system provides practical help for pension scheme trustees in carrying out their duties. The e-learning system builds on the publication of the Trustee Handbook 3rd Edition and other information services provided by the Board."

He continued: "We are constantly considering how to support trustees in their challenging roles, and have a number of further initiatives planned for 2010".

The trustee e-learning system can be accessed via the Pensions Board website and is free to use.

If you have any comments you would like to add to this or any other story, contact Nyree Stewart on + 44 (0)20 7261 4618 or email