The landscape for Irish occupational pension schemes is changing with the introduction of IORP II, a comprehensive and wide-ranging European Directive that seeks to enhance and harmonise the governance and management of pension schemes across the European Union. In doing so, it introduces a number of new requirements for Irish occupational pension plans, covering governance and risk management, plan management and member communication requirements.
The introduction of IORP II has led to employers of many existing pension schemes to explore master trusts as a vehicle for their pension plans. In addition, the majority of new defined contribution plans are established under master trust.
Employers seeking to provide high-quality, value for money retirement savings solutions for employees while facing challenging regulatory requirements, find master trust an attractive option. IORP II is also anticipated to apply to DC Master Trusts in addition to an envisaged regulatory framework specific to master trusts (similar to that which applies to master trusts in more mature markets, such as the UK). Employers, and members can therefore take comfort from the fact that their retirement savings within a master trust will be subject to high standards of governance and compliance.
A master trust is a defined contribution pension scheme set up under trust for multiple employers. The primary benefit is economies of scale, reducing costs and delivering time efficiencies associated with running a defined contribution pension plan, without sacrificing quality.
Employers seeking to provide high-quality, value for money retirement savings solutions for employees while facing challenging regulatory requirements are increasingly exploring master trusts. With a master trust, each employer retains control over their benefit structure and the level of contribution that applies to its own plan, while trusteeship (along with the associated governance and compliance responsibilities) are delegated to a professional trustee board.
While the anticipated new regulatory environment (IORP II and Master Trust specific regulations) are envisaged to be such that all master trusts will be subject to the same rigorous ongoing scrutiny it is important for employers to carry out appropriate due diligence as to the master trust providers’ preparedness for this new regulatory environment.
Not all master trusts are the same, either with respect to their preparedness for the new regulatory environment, or indeed the specific features and services provided to employers and members.
In addition, it is important to assess the extent to which Master Trusts offer future proofing to keep pace with evolving market needs.
As the largest and longest established (since 2006) corporate master trust in Ireland, the Mercer Master Trust is a tried and tested solution delivering strong retirement outcomes to members and employers across a breadth of company sectors and sizes. By combining our scale and expertise, we deliver the most compelling master trust experience in the market. Mercer is passionate about, and strongly committed to master trusts. We will continue to be one of the key innovators in this field not just in Ireland but also across the globe. Download our Mercer Master Trust brochure to find out more about the key benefits it provides.