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One in four Irish DB schemes set to close

IRELAND- Around a quarter of Ireland’s occupational defined benefit pension schemes are likely to close to new members in the next year according to research by the Pension Fund Partnership.

To date the number of closures in Ireland has been less than for the UK- one in eight DB scheme in Ireland now prevent new members joining, last year the figure was one in ten.

More worrying for members switching to DC schemes is that company contributions to such funds are running at half the level of those made to defined benefit schemes.

The 2002 survey of Irish occupational schemes, which covers 118 funds worth a combined e4.8bn, finds that companies are paying 11% into defined benefit schemes while the corresponding figure for defined contribution schemes stands at 5.9%.

It also suggests that occupational schemes have yet to take socially responsible, ethical and environmental issues to heart yet with only 11% of schemes giving them any consideration.

Trustees have some way to go in terms of training given that in 36% of the schemes, not one had attended a course. In 31% of occupational schemes, all the trustees have attended a course.

Schemes responding to the research said they would like to see pensions legislation cut and simplified. Other areas where schemes would like to see change include abolishing or amending the FRS17 requirement, allowing greater flexibility on transfers, making pension provision or scheme membership compulsory and reducing the retirement age.

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