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11.—(1) Subject to paragraphs (2) to (7), the Authority may by order direct or authorise an occupational pension scheme to be wound up if they are satisfied that—
(a)the scheme, or any part of it, ought to be replaced by a different scheme,
(b)the scheme is no longer required, or
(c)it is necessary in order to protect the interests of the generality of the members of the scheme that it be wound up.
(2) The Authority may not make an order under this Article on either of the grounds referred to in paragraph (1)(a) or (b) unless they are satisfied that the winding up of the scheme—
(a)cannot be achieved otherwise than by means of such an order, or
(b)can only be achieved in accordance with a procedure which—
(i)is liable to be unduly complex or protracted, or
(ii)involves the obtaining of consents which cannot be obtained, or can only be obtained with undue delay or difficulty,
and that it is reasonable in all the circumstances to make the order.
Para. (3) rep. by 2005 NI 1
[F1(3A) The Authority may, during an assessment period (within the meaning of Article 116 of the Pensions (Northern Ireland) Order 2005 (meaning of “assessment period” for the purposes of Part III of that Order)) in relation to an occupational pension scheme, by order direct the scheme to be wound up if they are satisfied that it is necessary to do so in order—
(a)to ensure that the scheme's protected liabilities do not exceed its assets, or
(b)if those liabilities do exceed its assets, to keep the excess to a minimum.
(3B) In paragraph (3A)—
(a)“protected liabilities” has the meaning given by Article 115 of the Pensions (Northern Ireland) Order 2005, and
(b)references to the assets of the scheme are references to those assets excluding any assets representing the value of any rights in respect of money purchase benefits (within the meaning of that Order) under the scheme.]
(4) An order under this Article authorising a scheme to be wound up must include such directions with respect to the manner and timing of the winding up as the Authority think appropriate having regard to the purposes of the order.[F1 This paragraph is subject to Articles 24, 119 and 198 of the Pensions (Northern Ireland) Order 2005 (winding up order made when freezing order has effect in relation to scheme or during assessment period under Part III of that Order).]
(5) The winding up of a scheme in pursuance of an order of the Authority under this Article is as effective in law as if it had been made under powers conferred by or under the scheme.
(6) An order under this Article may be made and complied with in relation to a scheme—
(a)in spite of any enactment or rule of law, or any rule of the scheme, which would otherwise operate to prevent the winding up, or
(b)except for the purpose of the Authority determining whether they are satisfied as mentioned in paragraph (2), without regard to any such enactment, rule of law or rule of the scheme as would otherwise require, or might otherwise be taken to require, the implementation of any procedure or the obtaining of any consent, with a view to the winding up.
[F1(6A) Paragraph (6) does not have effect to authorise the Authority to make an order as mentioned in sub-paragraph (a) or (b) of that paragraph, if their doing so would be unlawful as a result of section 6(1) of the Human Rights Act 1998 (unlawful for public authority to act in contravention of a Convention right).]
(7) In the case of a public service pension scheme—
(a)an order under paragraph (1) directing or authorising the scheme to be wound up may only be made on the grounds referred to in sub-paragraph (c), and
(b)such an order may, as the Authority think appropriate, adapt, amend or repeal any enactment in which the scheme is contained or under which it is made.
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