A new Inspector has joined the National Pensions Office team – Mr. Pierre Lautischer. Formerly a Royal Cayman Islands Police Service officer, Mr. Lautischer has an investigative background and is a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE).
His new role, which began 1 March, entails responding to complaints and conducting inspections of local employers and pension plans, states a release from Government Information Services (GIS).
With five staff members, the National Pensions Office serves a regulatory role, helping to ensure that employees are enrolled in a registered pension plan that meets National Pensions Law standards.
Mr. Lautischer’s responsibilities will also include participation in the development of a public education programme to inform employees and employers of their rights and responsibilities.
‘We need to address the opportunity to fully educate employers on National Pension Laws before any prosecutions are undertaken. We will initiate the process by establishing contact and giving them a chance to comply with the law,’ he said.
Superintendent of Pensions Mr. Cyril Theriault explained: ‘These inspection procedures did not exist before, so Pierre will be breaking new ground; this is a learning process for us too.’
But before inspections begin, one of Mr. Lautischer’s first priorities will be to ensure that all the required legal documentation is in place. ‘We need to be certain that the paperwork we use will satisfy the requirements of the court,’ he said.
Complaints are submitted from a variety of sources, noted Mr. Theriault, including employees and pension plan administrators. ‘It might be a report of an employer failing to make pension contribution payments for a few months, or perhaps not making any at all. In some situations, it’s employers waiting to see how long they can get away without paying or occasionally it happens that new companies are not yet fully aware of their responsibilities.’
Deputy Superintendent of Pensions, Mrs. Amy Wolliston, said she has seen a steady increase in complaints since joining the Pensions Office three years ago. ‘As the working population in the islands has increased, the number of complaints has also grown. In addition, the more employees become aware of their rights, the more active they become, especially when their employer is not complying with statutory responsibilities.’
‘This increase of complaints began before Ivan,’ said Mr. Theriault. ‘They were already on the increase. The more information you give people, the more questions they ask.’
As a result of this increase, a new compliance tracking system has been implemented to monitor pension plans and complaints, and improve overall efficiency. The database makes key information more accessible to the two administrative assistants – Mrs. Gwen Facey, who joined the office just before Christmas and Mrs. Gail Bush-both of whom deal with incoming complaints in the first instance.
As their public education campaign gets underway the National Pensions Office plans to set up a website that will act as a vital source of information for queries related to the National Pensions Law.