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APLI 15 December 2011 Murphy’s Law Reaffirmed (He hasn’t gone away, you know….)

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Presentation on theme: "APLI 15 December 2011 Murphy’s Law Reaffirmed (He hasn’t gone away, you know….)"— Presentation transcript:

1 APLI 15 December 2011 Murphy’s Law Reaffirmed (He hasn’t gone away, you know….)

2 A Few Statistics 2003: 155 complaints received 2004: : : : : : : 589

3 And more… Year to end November, 508 Annual average 515 plus 950 phone/e- mail cases where issues raised and resolved

4 And even more… Cases closed: 723 phone/ , plus 555 investigations. Report and Guidance given: 203 Mediated: 146, 103 favoured complainant OTOR: 76 Final determination: 74, 27 allowed Other: 56 Public/private sectors: 30% / 70% Cases on hand 30 November 2011: 430

5 Frequent Complaints Integration and the way it is applied  When pay increase doesn’t exceed State Pension increases FPS goes down, but historic contributions were on higher rates  Contributions based on basic, benefits on pensionable Final Pay  e.g., three-year average for computing benefits but contributions based on annual pay not averaged Contributing for more than 40 years

6 Problems Failure to wind up promptly AVCs not administered with main scheme benefits Public service AVCS – pensionable -v- actual service  NRD for lump sum calculation Early Retirement – ill health and normal  Deferred beneficiaries given options previously  Last-minute AVCs now locked in  Retirement at 60 promised - promise not honoured Evidence proved intention – settlement reached

7 Public Sector Problems Pension Levy (or pay cut) Reductions in pensions in payment Miscalculation Silly deadlines  Example: HSE VER and VSS 17,000 estimates prepared 4,000 detailed calculations Final exits: 2,005 Meantime, “routine” work sidelined, ordinary retirement payments delayed

8 …. And More Spouses’ and Children’s contribution liability not notified Misclassification of employees as post-1995 “new entrants” for PRSI  Liability for extra superannuation contributions  No hope of recovering most of the overpaid PRSI  Interdepartmental negotiations around 800 teachers Spouses and Children’s schemes – opters-out and would-be opters in  Change of job or status

9 Injury Grants Attempt by HSE to discontinue automatically at age 65 Circular sent by Employer umbrella body Statute says “shall be paid for life, or for such shorter period….” No power to fetter discretion in advance

10 Private Sector Problems Pension Levy Section 50 applications  Consultation a problem? – No regulations made Winding-up delays Unremitted contributions, as usual Refusal of Early Retirement Investment issues  Failure to carry out instructions – or not…..!

11 And more… No trustee to wind up the scheme.. A common problem The lady who lived too long D.I.S Benefit not protected – delay in payment – loss of €43k Declared Trustee investment policy not followed – loss of AVC value Employers who are own trustees don’t always understand obligations or Pensions Act duties

12 CWPS Problems Industry in ruins Vast amounts outstanding* Death Benefits not payable Criminal prosecutions successful but don’t recover money in most cases Schemes of arrangement – post dated cheques (many bounce) Ers not even liquidated… *11 determinations yesterday totalling €93k +

13 The Rise of the Phoenix Endemic in Construction  New firms, often same Directors, same employees, take up old contracts Old firm owes Revenue, Redundancy, CWPS etc N.I. Registered Company  Operated through RoI Branch  Ceased to trade. I could not touch NI Company  New Phoenix operation going Registered in RoI  3 Complainants to make complaints to an Garda in bid to obtain conviction and disqualification

14 OPO and the Law Few appeals under S. 140 Most – and most troublesome – brought by the State  Afraid of precedents OPO now has enforcement of determinations power formerly with Minister One JR: “Conduct of Applicant throughout the proceedings characterised by fraud and deceit”

15 Penalties 16 District Court prosecutions in 2010 for failure to provide information  Appeals to Circuit Court Costs €1300 to €2300 And we often get the information on the morning the Court case is heard Enforcement of requirement for information – Circuit Court

16 Other issues Current issues include payment of benefits under PAOs in Public Sector  They couldn’t make up their minds that there was only one pension  Arrears of overpayment  Application of the USC  Death in retirement is a huge issue – Family Law Acts and drafting

17 Things We have Learned Public Service Admin is uneven  Some Departments centralise, some don’t  Loss of expertise  Reluctance of people to stay in Superannuation Section Promotional criteria a problem here  Specialist Staff means fewer problems Need for recognition At last, Shared Services!

18 Things we have learned, cont’d Investment – “proper investment” Disinvestment of AVCs and DC in winding-up  Can the trustee ever be right? Amalgamation of (DC) AVCs with DB fund A considered decision, or just laziness? “Having regard to the nature and duration of the liabilities” is just a new way of saying something very old “Cooling-off” period and ARF Employment Agencies and PRSA Obligations

19 It’s not all serious….  Not pensioned on all of his service – shortfall in benefits Misinformation on transferred service – overstated by 100 days - “loss” was €3.38 per fortnight PO cannot compensate for loss of expectation  Civil servant missing pension credit for ONE day of his service It was a strike day  One man complained that trustees hadn’t told him inflation would erode the value of his pension

20 It Really Isn’t Lady complained she had lost 2½% of her pension  She insisted it be paid by cheque  She liked to go to the Post Office  She doesn’t trust ATMs  Everyone else paid by EFT and got an increase of 2½% She didn’t understand basic arithmetic  She had been a National Teacher Another Complainant insisted on being paid by cheque, then complained that compensation for EFT not included in pensionable pay – he understood, but claimed anyway

21 They haven't gone away…. Complainant wanted average of allowance going back 10 years to be pensioned  Changed duties – allowances red circled until new scale caught up Rules didn’t pension best 3 in last 10 Complainant submitted Labour Court case in support Failed to submit his own Labour Court case by which he had agreed to be bound Told him frivolous and vexatious –don’t write again Asked Scheme Administrator to write on his behalf!

22 Questions?

23 Office of the Pensions Ombudsman 36 Upper Mount St, Dublin


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