IRELAND - Pensions ombudsman, Paul Kenny, has hit out at the public sector for not doing enough to ensure pension scheme members understand their entitlement rights.
Kenny called for the Plain English Campaign, a campaign pushing for public information to be made clearer, to be extended to the pensions industry.
Kelly’s criticism related to the disclosure of scheme entitlements and rights issued to members,as required by the Pension Act. He asserted many were only providing basic scheme information that “pension experts” would struggle to understand. “The more disclosure regulation you get the more temptation for administrators and trustees to cover there backs but don't necessarily inform people,” said the ombudsmen.
“In the private sector you usually have an explanatory booklet or sometimes a document which goes out to the people which is a more popularised version explaining matters. But in the public sector the tradition has been just to give a member a copy of the regulations.”
Kelly stated the lack of clarity was affecting thousands of members in the country and has pleaded for more to be done to ensure the industry doesn’t just do the legislative minimum.
“I would like to see the plain english campaign extended and also the report out three years ago called “The report to the commissioner on public service pensions” who commented on the poor quality of communication and information in terms of pension matters.”
Minister for social affairs, Seamus Brennan, recently launched a report by the National Adult Literacy Agency endorsing the need for plain english in communications.
Kelly concluded: “There has to be some compromise between the cover my back school and the people who want clarity and communication.”
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The Pensions Ombudsman (TPO) took on 2,566 early resolution cases in 2018/19 after onboarding a team from The Pensions Advisory Service (TPAS), according to its annual report and accounts.
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