Thursday, 30 November 2006
Dáil Eireann Debate
71. Mr. Stanton asked the Minister for Finance the estimated amounts charged by insurance fund providers and intermediaries and other agents in each of the most recent three years for which data is available in setting up and in paying annuities and other benefits under personal, private and occupational pension arrangements. [40995/06]
Minister for Finance (Mr. Cowen): The information requested by the Deputy is not available to my Department, as neither the Financial Regulator nor the Pensions Board collects such data. The Deputy should note that the administration of pension schemes is primarily the responsibility of scheme trustees. Trustees are required to, at all times, act in the best interests of scheme members, with due regard being paid to the legislation governing the operation of pension schemes and the trust deeds and rules of individual schemes. In discharging their duties to members, trustees must ensure that they are achieving best value in terms of administration charges and other fees and commissions payable arising from the operation of pension schemes.
It should also be noted that the Financial Regulator published a Consultation Paper ‘Review of Remuneration Structures and Transparency’ in January 2005 seeking views in relation to remuneration structures in the insurance market and also in relation to non-insurance investment products. This would include certain investment-type pension products. It sought views, on amongst other things, as to how the charging structures could be made simpler and clearer for the consumer and looked for suggestions as to what would be an appropriate measure of the impact of those charges and a means of comparing one product with another. The Financial Regulator’s response to the first phase of consultation will be published on its website on 30 November setting out the questions that were posed as part of the review, the responses received and the next phase of the review.
The Government is also committed to publishing a Green Paper on pensions as part of its commitments under ‘Towards 2016’. It is expected that this will be published by the end of March next year. Given the role which annuities play in delivering retirement incomes the Green Paper will include an examination of that market.
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