New National Pensions Bill
Published 29th May 2012, 11:49am
A new National Pensions Bill 2012 was launched for consultation by the Ministry of Education, Training & Employment on Monday 28 May, 2012. This Bill is the first major revision to the National Pensions Law, which governs private sector pensions, since it was created in 1998. Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Chief Officer, Mary Rodrigues shared the main objectives of the new Bill: • To enhance the process whereby pension contributions are monitored and enforced. • To improve the regulation of pension plans and pension plan administrators. • To create a new culture of compliance around pensions. • To better prepare our people for their retirement. The Hon. Rolston Anglin, JP, Minister for Education, Training and Employment, explained that the Bill is a key part of his Ministry’s reform of labour and pensions. “Caymanian families used to look after their elderly relatives. Unfortunately our society has long changed and so has our family structure. In these circumstances, it has been the responsibility of government to make provision for many of our citizens. Government must take a leading role in ensuring Caymanians are better prepared for their retirement after a lifetime of hard work.” “This Bill is a major step forward in this direction. Together with the establishment of a new Department of Labour and Pensions and planned amendments to the Labour Law, the government is making huge leaps forward to help our people secure a better future,” Minister Anglin said. Minister Anglin explained that this is the first major change to the National Pensions Law since its inception over a decade ago. “When the Law was introduced it represented a new initiative for the Cayman Islands, but it is one that needs to be nurtured and developed, with due consideration for our current economic realities. We now seek to take forward and provide an enhanced framework in which our pensions regime can operate more effectively,” he stated. Minister Anglin thanked the team who made the Bill a reality. “The challenge is always to turn a vision for change into something tangible. The Chief Officer and I have been very well supported through the contributions of the National Pensions Board, Deputy Chief Officer Mr. Vaughan Carter, Superintendent of Pensions Ms. Amy Wolliston, CIMA, Legislative Drafting and Mrs. Theresa Pitcairn who, as a consultant to my Ministry, undertook discussions with a range of public and private stakeholders which provided key information for making the necessary changes to the law.” The National Pensions Bill 2012 proposes new arrangements for the regulation of pensions. The Cayman Islands Monetary Authority will take responsibility for the regulation of pension plans and pension plan providers. The remaining functions, which relate to employers and employees, will stay under the Ministry and the newly formed Department of Labour & Pensions. “This will result in an increase in the overall resources devoted to the overall regulation of pensions,” stated Ms. Amy Wolliston. “We will also benefit from the application of CIMA’s financial expertise and regulatory experience, and the pension staff within the DLP will be able to focus on long-standing compliance issues,” she explained. Some other key changes as a result of the bill include: an increase in the age at which persons become entitled to access their pension (formerly known as the “normal retirement age”); new and enhanced mechanisms to improve compliance with the Law; new provisions for additional voluntary contributions, to supplement pensions and to save for key priorities; and more and better information on pension plan performance. Offering his comments on the process, Chair of the National Pensions Board, Mr. Orren Merren had this to say, “The National Pensions Board spent much time and effort providing our input to this Bill through various drafts of it. I wish to thank each Board member who contributed. I also wish to acknowledge our debt of gratitude to the 2008 Board for providing detailed comments on the Mercer Report and on the National Pensions Law itself. In addition, I congratulate Minister Anglin on his vision and foresight in initiating these reforms and in sustaining efforts on many fronts to bring them to fruition.” The public is encouraged to access the bill and online survey to provide feedback to the Ministry and Department on the changes proposed. All documents and the link for the online survey can be found on the National Pensions Office website: www.npo.gov.ky. Printed copies of the survey can also be collected from the Department of Labour & Pensions, 2nd Floor, Midtown Plaza. People are asked to also submit their completed, printed survey to the department, for the attention of the Superintendent of Pensions. Public consultation will close on Friday June 22, 2012.