Northern Ireland

Dunnes NI pension scheme trustees replaced

Dunnes Stores sign

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has replaced the trustees of a Dunnes pension scheme in NI because their incompetence put savers at risk.

An independent trustee has now been appointed to oversee the Dunnes Stores (Bangor) Ltd management pension scheme.

It is the first time TPR has used its power to appoint a trustee primarily because of a lack of competence by an existing trustee board.

Dunnes Stores is one of Ireland's biggest retailers.

It has a substantial business in Northern Ireland.

TPR said "a catalogue of governance failures" was putting the benefits of 390 scheme members at risk.

An adjudication panel found that despite more than a decade of being responsible for running the scheme, the two employer-nominated trustees had failed to familiarise themselves with the requirements of UK pensions law.

'At risk'

The trustees also showed that they did not have, or are had not exercised, their knowledge and understanding for the proper administration of the scheme.

Nicola Parish, TPR's executive director of frontline regulation, said: "In this case, the trustees put member outcomes at risk and so we took action to ensure benefits are protected.

"The trustees have been replaced because they have consistently failed to show they had the skill to do the job properly.

"Trustees who are not committed to their duties should consider whether it's right that they continue in their position of being responsible for governing a pension scheme."

The independent trustee is considering the future of the scheme and the best way to protect member benefits.

Members will be kept informed on the future of the scheme.

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