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Private Sector

1. I am in a Defined Contribution Pension Scheme and the value of my pension fund has dropped because of the stock market collapse/recession etc. Should my pension provider not have put my pension savings into a safer investment, such as cash?
That depends on circumstances. You may complain if your instructions in relation to your investments were not carried out or if there were undue delays in administering your benefits which led to a loss, for example. In general, you may not complain about the failure of a trustee or administrator to act when they have not received instructions from you. It is impossible to give general advice here which would suit all circumstances.

2. Deductions are made from my wages for a pension. How do I know that these deductions are being paid over to my pension fund and how do I find out how many deductions have been made altogether?
You are entitled by law to receive a wages slip that details any deductions made from your pay. In addition your employer is obliged to notify you in writing every month, that the amounts deducted in the previous month have been remitted to the scheme trustees. Ask your employer directly which pension fund his is paying your (and his) contributions into and contact them directly. If you are in the construction industry, you might contact one of the agencies mentioned in Question 25 above.

3. Can a company change from a Defined Benefit to a Defined Contribution pension scheme?
Yes, but there are certain obligations which must be complied with before this can happen. See the Pensions Authority booklet "Pension Scheme Funding and Restructuring" or contact the Pensions Authority at Verschoyle House, 28-30 Lower Mount Street, Dublin 2. Tel (01) 6131900.

4. I am worried that my pension scheme might be wound up. What should I do?
The winding up of a pension scheme must be carried out under strict conditions. See the Pensions Authority booklet "Pension Scheme Funding and Restructuring" or contact the Pensions Authority at Verschoyle House, 28-30 Lower Mount Street, Dublin 2. Tel (01) 6131900 and the Trustees of the scheme if you have any worries.

5. The charges on my PRSA are very high. What can I do?
If you feel that you are not being charged in accordance with the terms of your agreement, contact the Financial Services Ombudsman at 3rd Floor, Lincoln House, Lincoln Place, Dublin 2. Tel 1890 88 2090. If your PRSA is a Standard PRSA (your PRSA document will say if it is), you could contact the Pensions Authority at Verschoyle House, 28-30 Lower Mount Street, Dublin 2. Tel (01) 6131900, as the charges for Standard PRSAs are "capped" at certain levels. See the Board's booklet, "PRSAs – A Consumer Guide".

6. I cannot get information in relation to the value of my PRSA.
Your PRSA provider is obliged by law to give you certain information. See the Pensions Authority's booklet, "PRSAs – A Consumer Guide".

7. I am a pensioner and was advised to invest my SSIA in a pension fund. Now I cannot get access to my money. What can I do?
The special scheme to allow SSIA funds to be invested in pensions was designed, from a tax viewpoint, for existing employees/taxpayers. It was intended to help those who were saving, long-term, for retirement. It was likely to give only a marginal benefit to the majority of pensioners, and was not at all attractive to anyone on higher-rate income tax. If you believe that you were given wrong advice in this area, contact the Financial Services Ombudsman at 3rd Floor, Lincoln House, Lincoln Place, Dublin 2. Tel 1890 88 2090