Pensions update – EU brings in border check

Employers running cross-border pension schemes have until 30 March to apply for authorisation and approval from the Pensions Regulator.

Rules introduced as part of EU Directive 2003/41, commonly known as the Occupational Pensions Directive, require all existing schemes and new cross-border pension schemes to apply for authorisation and approval. Up to 100 cross-border schemes are estimated to be operating in the UK.

Authorisation only needs to be obtained once, but approval is required each time a cross-border scheme wants to operate in an additional country.

Under the rules, new cross-border pension schemes must also be fully funded within two years of their application to the Pensions Regulator.

Existing schemes have until 22 September 2008 to become fully funded.

The regulations aim to provide a common legal framework for the regulation of occupational pensions throughout the EU.

To help employers comply, the pensions regulator has published guidance on its website explaining the process.

For more information and to download the forms visit www.pensionsregulator.gov.uk