CERS – the future shape of pensions?

As options around pension provision in Ireland continue to be explored it is likely that the introduction of auto-enrolment is fast approaching, where employers will be obliged by law to include their employees in a pension scheme. This is the system that is in use in many countries and was introduced in the last few years in the UK with good success. It is inevitably part of the overall pension solution in Ireland.

Employers are an integral part of the pension solution. In addition to the generous tax advantages in making pension contributions, and as the construction industry gets busy again, many employers recognise the really important role that pension schemes play in providing a more competitive package for recruiting and more importantly for retaining staff.

The Construction Executive Retirement Savings scheme (CERS) was set up and designed specifically for the construction and related sectors, to meet the needs of industry members who were looking for flexibility in their retirement planning arrangements

CERS addresses one of the biggest challenges faced by senior people in the construction industry who recognise the importance of structured retirement planning but simply don’t have the time to implement it effectively.  As a “Master Trust” arrangement, this removes the need for the employer to act as trustee. Trustee duties require a significant time commitment and the responsibilities of trustees are about to become even more onerous in the future. A recent report from the Pensions Authority revealed that Ireland has more pension schemes than any other country in Europe – even though some of these countries have 20 times our population. This makes no sense from an efficiency and cost point of view and it looks like we are going to see a move towards “Master trust” arrangements where there is an umbrella scheme, which lots of employers can then join and personalise their own arrangement to suit their Company and employees.

What makes CERS different to other schemes?

  The Scheme is unique in that it is set up under a Master Trust with a structure of sub schemes for individual employers.
  Individual schemes can be tailored to meet the specific requirements of all their stakeholders, including whether Defined Benefit or Defined Contribution benefits are offered.
  Varying contribution structures, while at the same time benefiting from the economy of scale efficiencies of being a Master Trust.
  Very competitive charging structure with no charges on transfers in or out.
  100% allocation on all contributions received.
  No additional charges for standard expert legal and actuarial advice.
  The Multi Asset Fund, with its exceptional degree of diversification, is an ideal default option.
  A life-styling process is in place designed to reduce risk as the member approaches retirement.
  An ARF lifestyle option is also available to members.
  Members are also given direct access to the underlying Bond, Equity, Property, Alternative Assets and Cash Funds.
  Access to a dedicated team of pension consultants and administrators who can provide staff presentations or one to one meetings.

The CERS Trustee places a great emphasis on the importance of communication and effective engagement with members. They have appointed an experienced and highly professional Registered Administrator (RA) which works closely alongside it for the benefit of the members. The Trustee Board is made up of individuals who are, or have been, involved in the construction industry and they have a very strong understanding of the particular requirements of the Scheme’s membership as well as having many years of experience in the construction industry.

With over 40 years’ experience designing and managing flexible pension solutions for construction professionals, CERS are the people to talk to when planning a pension arrangement for you and your employees.

If you would like more information on CERS please visit www.cers.ie or email info@cers.ie 

Prepared by: Frances McNally, Manager, CERS.

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