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‘Defined contribution’ dominate new pensions Back  
The Pensions Board’s annual report for 1999 has confirming the overwhelming trend in pensions provision towards defined contribution schemes. Defined contribution schemes represented 99.4 p.c. of new pension schemes in 1999. A total of 23,845 new pension fund members were registered with such schemes, while 11,177 new members came in under defined benefit schemes.

The Board noted that the total number of defined benefit schemes decreased over 1999. ‘While 84 new defined benefit schemes were registered during 1999, there was a net decrease of nine in the total number of reegistered defined benefit schemes at end 1999.’

Similarly, pensions coverage as a proportion of the rapidly -expanding labour force decreased in 1999, the CEO of the Pensions Board, Anne Maher noted. The growth of pension fund membership in 1999 was 6 p.c., representing 35,022 new members. The number of people in employment rose by 102,000 in 1999, an increase 6.6 p.c..

There were a total of 2,060 defined benefit schemes at end 1999, covering 425,000 members. Defined contribution schemes, although growing rapidly, covered 144,425 members. Six out of seven defined contribution schemes are single-member funds. At the other end of the scale, there were three new defined contribution schemes with over 1,000 members in 1999, bringing the total such schemes to five.

Separately, the Pensions Board annual report also highlights a growing level of compliance and enforcement actions by the Board. 16 cases involving a complaint of a serious nature being investigated under Section 18 of the Pensions Act were in hand presently, according to the Board. The Board worked on 150 investigations into occupational schemes in 1999, and initiated five legal proceedings, all of which were successful.

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