ISLE OF MAN - The Isle of Man's parliament, the Tynwald, has approved the Retirement Benefits Schemes Regulations 2004, which require schemes operating in the island to register with the Insurance and Pensions Authority.

The new domestic regulations complement the island’s existing international retirement benefits scheme regulations, which took effect in January 2002, and under which IPA says that forty schemes for non-island employees have so far been registered.

These regulations, which are made under the Retirement Benefits Schemes Act 2000, will take full effect from May next year.

The new rules have been set after “extensive consultation” with employers and industry practitioners both on and off the island. They are meant to create “a framework appropriate to the needs of the Isle of Man”.

Trustees or administrators of pension schemes managed by insurance companies, pension scheme administrators or operated by employers as in-house pension arrangements must register their fund either as a fully authorised or as recognised or permitted.

Occupational schemes established in the UK or Ireland that hold benefits for Isle of Man residents can be classified as a recognised scheme, while other foreign occupational schemes with no more than five Isle of Man resident members can be registered as a Permitted Scheme.

This requirement applies to all schemes tax approved by the Assessor of Income Tax, the Isle of Man’s equivalent of the Inland Revenue.

An official for IPA explained that “certain relaxation applies” would however apply where local workers are participating in schemes which are already regulated, citing as example UK pension schemes, which are supervised by the Occupational Pensions Regulatory Authority.

Under the new framework IPA also takes over from the Department of Health and Social Security the pension tracing service, which so far has covered authorised local schemes.

The new pension tracing service aims at all scheme members who have lost contact with their scheme.

“It is envisaged that the new legislation should encourage people to have more confidence in the Manx private pensions system, and will assist the development of a positive long-term savings culture within the Island” IPA said.