OCC probes pension system

Cayman’s new complaints
commissioner is investigating how the country’s regulatory body for private sector
pensions is policing companies that don’t pay what they owe their workers.

“Currently (the National Pensions
Office) is not functioning properly,” Complaints Commissioner Nicola Williams
said during an interview with the Caymanian Compass, noting that 670 registered
companies in the Cayman Islands were either late on pension payments or are
simply not making those at all.

Ms Williams said her office had
become aware during a month of pre-investigative research that some local
businesses were taking pension contributions from employees and spending them
on other things, including day-to-day operations. She said others were clearly
“waiting until the 11th hour” – essentially withholding payment
until someone forced them to cough up the money.

The full amount of pension payments
owed by those 670 companies is hard to glean simply because the pensions office
depends on the companies themselves to report how much they owe.

The complaints commissioner
questioned how businesses that are already not following the law could be
trusted to report the amount of their delinquent contributions accurately.

“(Pension non-payment) seems to cut
across all socio-economic barriers, but it particularly affects the poorer
sections of our society and people nearing the end of their working life,” Ms
Williams said.  

The commissioner said her office’s
review would hopefully be completed in May, and that it would only consider
pension non-compliance in the private sector.

The Caymanian Compass recently
reported that more than $1 million in delinquent pension payments was owed by
government entities, but the commissioner noted that was likely a small amount
compared to what private companies currently owe.

The OCC intends to release the full
amount of delinquent pensions owed in its final report, if that amount can ever
be determined. The commissioner said she would also consider making public the
names of the worst pension law violators.

See the full report in Friday’s
Caymanian Compass…

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