Pensions order lifted on Chamber plan

New board now in place

The National Pensions Office has ended its order constraining the operations of the Chamber Pension Plan following last week’s election of a new board of trustees for the retirement fund.  

Acting Pensions Superintendent Mario Ebanks said Tuesday that while his office would continue to monitor the Chamber fund and all private sector retirement plans, the order issued in February had been lifted and the Chamber plan could continue with business as usual.  

“I am satisfied that, in accordance with the order, and in accordance with the National Pensions Law … the election was legal and properly done and all those elected were elected in accordance with [legal] principles,” Mr. Ebanks said.  

Elected board members of the Chamber plan include: Charles Dickinson of St. Matthews University, KPMG senior manager Ashita Shenoy, Cayman Airways executive assistant Pamela J. Watler, AL Thompson’s financial controller Paul Schreiner, Ogier partner Peter Cockhill, Loredana Branca of Dolce Vita restaurant, and Digicel chief operations director Raul Nicholson-Coe.  

The Chamber Pension Plan is sponsored by the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce but remains a separate legal entity. It is the largest multi-member private sector retirement plan in Cayman with more than 16,000 registered members.  

The Cayman Compass revealed last week that the Chamber plan had been under the direction of the National Pensions Office since February since it had not properly elected its board trustees in at least last year. 

The order stated that at the time it was issued, Feb. 24, there were only two legally standing trustees who had been appointed as interim board members – not enough to maintain a quorum for meetings under the Chamber plan’s trust deed. 

The issues with the plan surrounded “resignation of board trustees or improper appointment of trustees,” Mr. Ebanks said.  

Those matters have been resolved, but Mr. Ebanks said the Chamber plan would still be required by the regulator to produce a number of financial records as specified in the February order.  

Those records are to include a full forensic audit of the controls and investment management processes used by the retirement plan, an actuarial evaluation, responses to audit and investment reviews of the plan, and other records related to corporate best practices.  

“We’re going to insist that [these evaluations] are carried out,” Mr. Ebanks said.  

Mr. Ebanks said his office does not have any specific concerns about the Chamber Pension Plan’s financial health, but noted it had been operating for some time without a properly elected board of trustees according to its own bylaws set out in a 1999 trust deed.  

It would be a practice of the National Pensions Office and the government Department of Labour and Pensions going forward to monitor the plan administrators, as well as the companies donating to the retirement schemes, to ensure compliance with local laws, Mr. Ebanks said.  

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