Irish watchdog blasts administrators' 'extraordinary' data failures
IRELAND – The Pensions Board has criticised the quality of data supplied by Ireland's pensions administrators after inspections found cases of companies attempting to renew registration for wound-up schemes.
Detailing site visits to 28 registered administrators over the course of 2012, the country's pensions regulator said four failed to meet "the standards of competence and capability expected".
It said the failings were so severe that, had they not been rectified, the Board would have considered bringing sanctions against the firms.
The report said: "The Board finds it extraordinary that any administrator should be so unaware of its responsibilities that this situation should arise."
It added that, to correct these "significant" breaches, it had agreed action plans with each of the four unnamed administrators.
"As part of that process, it was made very clear to these registered administrators that, should they fail to implement the action plan within the set time period and maintain the improved behaviour and standards, then the Board would take steps to impose sanctions as provided for under the Act."
As part of the action plans, some of the companies were forced to update the Board on a twice-monthly basis, outlining both progress over the past two weeks and action to be taken in the coming two.
It added that follow-up inspections with two of the administrators did not indicate any "major" further breaches, but that both companies nonetheless showed "considerable scope" for improvement.
The Board's report noted that, in some cases, the administrators had submitted inaccurate information on clients to the regulator.
"Examples of this are registered administrators renewing registration for schemes that have been wound up […] and registered administrators using one Pensions Board number for two distinct and separate schemes," the report said.
However, the Board was keen to stress that compliance with guidelines was not solely a matter for administrators.
"Trustees should note that, where the Board uncovers instances of apparent non-compliance by trustees during the registered administrator inspection process, then the Board will note that matter for follow up directly with the trustees concerned," it said.
"This could result in sanctions being imposed by the Board on those trustees."