The trustee training deadline for pension scheme trustees appointed prior to 1 February 2010 passed on 31 January 2012. Trustees appointed since 1 February 2010 must receive training within six months of the date of their appointment. Trustees and sponsoring employers who fail to comply with the trustee training requirements are liable to fines and/or prosecution under the Pensions Act.
The Pensions Act imposes an obligation on employers that operate pension schemes to arrange for the scheme trustees to receive appropriate training before the deadlines above and every two years thereafter. However, an employer is not required to arrange training for a pensioneer trustee or a professional trustee, as defined in the Pensions Act. The Pensions Act also imposes an obligation on the trustees of occupational pension schemes to undertake trustee training within the specified time period.
The Pensions Act requires that trustees receive appropriate training in relation to the law governing the operation of their scheme; the duties and responsibilities of trustees generally; and such other matters relevant to the effective management of a scheme.
- Where an employer fails to comply with its obligation to arrange trustee training in a timely manner, both the employer and its officers (where the employer is a corporate body) can face prosecution and a fine of up to €25,000 and up to two years imprisonment
- A trustee who fails to undertake trustee training as and when required by the Pensions Act is liable to an on-the-spot fine of €2,000
It should be noted that fines imposed on employers, company officers or the trustees cannot be paid out of the resources of the scheme.
It is advisable for employers and trustees who have not yet complied with these requirements to take steps to do so immediately.