Welcome Amendments to Bulk Transfer Regulations Provide a Shorter Path for Schemes Moving to Master Trusts
Amendments to bulk transfer legislation will reduce the requirements on schemes moving to master trusts.

 

Last November, the Occupational Pension Schemes (Duties of Trustees in Connection with Bulk Transfer) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 (Bulk Transfer Regulations 2021) came into force. Many employers are considering a move to master trusts for future defined contribution pension provision due to the increased compliance burden arising from IORP II. We have commented on the guidance published for employers on master trusts here.

What is a bulk transfer?

Bulk transfers typically involve a transfer of scheme assets by the trustees of one scheme to the trustees of another scheme in respect of a group of members.

The Occupational Pension Schemes (Duties of Trustees in Connection with Bulk Transfer) Regulations 2009 (Bulk Transfer Regulations 2009) are the principal regulations governing bulk transfers in Ireland. The Bulk Transfer Regulations 2009 require trustees to comply with specific requirements prior to carrying out a bulk transfer. 

These requirements include: 

  • providing the transferring members and their trade union with detailed information on the proposed transfer by post at least two months before it is due to take place (notification requirement); and
  • allowing at least one month for any written observations made by the transferring members and their trade union on the proposed bulk transfer (observation requirement).

What amendments have been made under the Bulk Transfer Regulations 2021?

The Bulk Transfer Regulations 2021 have simplified the notification requirement. The requirement to notify the transferring members and trade unions of a bulk transfer at least two months before the transfer is reduced to at least one month before the transfer. The new notification requirement allows for the notification to transferring members to be communicated by electronic means, rather than just by post. Where communication by post or electronic means is not possible, there is a requirement to publish a notice in a national newspaper. Finally, the observation requirement has been amended; trustees are still required to give due consideration to the observations of transferring members, but the one-month period for such consideration has been removed.

What is the significance of the Bulk Transfer Regulations 2021?

Some of the requirements under the Bulk Transfer Regulations 2009 were criticised for being very time-consuming and costly. The Bulk Transfer Regulations 2021 have streamlined and simplified the process for carrying out a bulk transfer.

However, employers considering a move to master trusts should start the engagement process with trustees and other relevant stakeholders at an early stage as the notification and observation requirements need to be factored into any planning related to such a move.  

Contact Us

For more information, please contact Ian Devlin, Ciara Mc Loughlin or your usual William Fry contact.

 

Contributed by Robert Glascott

 

Key Contacts

Ian Devlin Partner

Ciara McLoughlin Consultant

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