Trustees have important duties and responsibilities under The Pensions Act and Trust law generally. Trustees are essential to the operation of the Irish pensions system, the assets of which are valued at approximately €80 billion in savings.
Legislation, as of 1 February 2010, stipulates that every trustee must undertake trustee training in accordance with The Pensions Act. The Pensions Act provides that employers who operate pension schemes must arrange for the trustees of their scheme (and, in the case of a trustee which is a body corporate, for all the directors of that body corporate) to receive appropriate training.
However, an employer is not required to arrange appropriate training for a pensioner trustee or a professional trustee. A pensioner trustee is a status conferred by the Revenue Commissioners on individuals or firms with specialist knowledge in the area of pension law and pensions administration. A professional trustee, sometimes referred to as an 'independent trustee', works in the same way as other trustees and has the same duties, powers and responsibilities, but brings professional expertise and experience to the trustee board and tends to charge professional fees.
Trustees are required to receive training within six months of their appointment and at least every two years after that.
Trustees will be required to receive training on:
- The Pensions Act, the regulations made under it and any other law that affects the operation of their scheme or trust RAC.
- The duties and responsibilities of trustees.
The Pensions Authority has an online trustee training programme available free of charge on its website. The training is broken down into nine interactive modules, which you complete in your own time and at your own pace. On successful completion a certificate is awarded.
The Pensions Authority has long supported trustees by producing the Trustee handbook, issuing updated FAQs on changes in legislation or to regulations, publishing a range of information booklets and operating an enquiry service on (01) 613-1900 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Authority also provides a list of registered trustee trainers on its website.