IRELAND - The Pensions Board has expressed concern at the number of "inactive" Personal Retirement Savings Accounts (PRSA) employer designations in existence.
Reporting the figures for the second quarter of 2005, the Board said PRSAs reached a total e270m in assets with 55,011 accounts taken out by the end of June.
But the Board said it was not enough for employers to “just notify” employees that the company has a PRSA provider. The employer must notify exculded employees of their right to contribute to the chosen account, and must allow their provider “reasonable access” to employees to come in and talk to them about pension provision.
“The monitoring of employers’ obligations to provide access to PRSAs continues to be a high priority,” said Mary Hutch, head of information and training, The Pensions Board. “The Board will continue its activity in this area and next month will issue letters and questionnaires to almost 30,000 employers who the Board has been unable to identify as having either a registered occupational pension scheme or who may have failed to sign up with a PRSA provider to ensure their staff have access to a standard PRSA.”
All employers were required on September 15, 2003 to enter into a contract with a PRSA provider so that access to at least one standard PRSA is available for all “excluded employees” on and from that date. The investment account is a personal pension plan that can be used to save for retirement where the contributions paid are tax deductible and the return is tax exempted.
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