IRELAND - The Irish parliament has passed the controversial pensions levy bill with officials expecting the proposal to go into law March 1.
Department of Finance spokeswoman Mary Larkin said the levy would now be debated in the Seanad, the upper house of the parliament, tomorrow. Larkin said the Seanad is expected to pass the measure and for it to go into law next week.
The levy was introduced earlier this month as part of a series of measures to combat the financial downturn and is estimated to cut public spending by €1.4bn (US$1.8bn).
Civil servants will face an average pension levy of 7.5% as part of the plan.
The levy has enraged lower-wage workers who claim the levy puts an unfair burden on lower-wage workers while not relying enough on high-end earners. (Global Pensions, 25 February 2009)
As structured, the new contribution rate will be graduated - from 3% of income at the bottom end of the scale (workers earning €15,000 or less) to 9.6% at the top end (workers on €300,000 or more), with a predicted average of 7.5%.
Over the weekend, some 150,000 protesters too to the streets to speak out against the levy and other financial measures proposed by the government to combat the financial downturn, including pre-approved wage freezes for public workers.
A number of pension schemes have been prompted to lock in gains with a move into bonds after the estimated deficit across FTSE 100 DB pension schemes improved by £36bn, over the 12 months ending 30 June last year, JLT Employment Benefits found.
HM Treasury has agreed in principle to give NEST a £329m contingent liability guarantee in the event of the master trust's wind up or closure.
AMP Capital has set up a dedicated team to help institutional investors, including pension funds, invest in infrastructure through direct equity allocations.