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Pension Schemes Act (Northern Ireland) 2016

Pensions (Northern Ireland) Order 2005

The majority of the amendments made to the 2005 Order take out a number of references to money purchase schemes and update provisions in that Order to take account of the new pension scheme categories and the introduction of collective benefits. In most cases, the effect of the provisions is to extend exemption of the provision from schemes offering only money purchase benefits to schemes in which all benefits are collective or a combination of collective and money purchase. However, in paragraph 24 is a further qualification – with the effect that the provision does apply to schemes with only money purchase benefits which include a third party promise.

Article 2 of the 2005 Order defines terms used throughout that Order. Paragraph 21 of Schedule 2 of this Act inserts the new scheme category and collective benefit definitions and omits the definition of ‘money purchase scheme’. It also updates the list of overriding provisions contained in the definition of “scheme rules” in the 2005 Order, to include regulations made under Part 2 of this Act, and under Schedule 17 and 18 to the 2015 Act. This means that where these regulations override conflicting provision in the scheme rules the regulations are treated as part of the scheme rules for the purposes of the 2005 Order.

Paragraphs 22, 28, 31 and 33 also amend the definition of pensions legislation in Articles 9, 85, 231 and 267 of the 2005 Order to include provisions in and made under the Act, ensuring that the Regulator can take action where there are breaches of the Act and Regulations made under it and to allow for modification of the provisions where schemes receive contributions from a European employer.

Article 110 of the 2005 Order defines those occupational pension schemes which are eligible to be taken over by the Board of the Pension Protection Fund. Paragraph 29 of the Schedule amends the 2005 Order to include reference to the new categories of occupational pension scheme in Part 1 of the Act, (defined benefits, shared risk and defined contributions schemes) as eligible for the Pension Protection Fund. This paragraph also has the effect that occupational pension schemes that offer only money purchase and collective benefits, and occupational pension schemes that offer only collective benefits are not eligible for the Pension Protection Fund.

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