Chamber pension plan released from government oversight

A government order issued more than two years ago, putting the Cayman Islands’ largest private sector retirement savings plan under increased monitoring by government regulators, has been “concluded.”

The National Pensions Office confirmed the lifting of the administrative order in correspondence Friday to Chamber of Commerce Pension Plan trustees.

The office did not state why it had concluded the order, which had been in place since early 2014, against the pension plan.

Former government Director of Labour and Pensions Mario Ebanks said in May 2014 that the pension plan, which covers about 17,500 private sector employees in the Cayman Islands, was initially placed under administration in February 2014 after its board of trustees failed to maintain a quorum of properly appointed members.

The order did not halt day-to-day operations of the investment plan, but it did restrict certain decision-making powers of the hamstrung board at the time.

When a full board was appointed in late May 2014, the administrative order was relaxed, but not ended.

Mr. Ebanks said at the time that the pension plan would still be required by the labor department to produce “a number of financial records.” Those records were to include a full forensic audit of financial controls and investment management processes used by the retirement, an actuarial evaluation, investment reviews and other records intended to show “corporate best practices.”

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

The Labour and Pensions Office did not express any specific concerns about the Chamber Pension Plan’s financial health at any time.

Chamber pension plan representatives indicated the remaining outstanding issues relative to government’s order were dealt with in January 2016 after “big four” accounting firm KPMG completed a review of the investment plan. The review concluded that the plan is currently operating reasonably and adequately.

The Chamber pension board of trustees provided a copy of that review to the National Pensions Office.

Board members indicated that 32 recommendations made in the KPMG report have been implemented to improve the management of the fund.

Section 70 of the National Pensions Law, which governs all private sector pensions in the Cayman Islands, allows the superintendent of pensions to make an order against any pension plan provider in cases where:

The pension fund is not being administered in accordance with local laws

The pension plan itself is not in compliance with the laws

The plan administrators, employers covered under the plan or anyone else involved with the plan is not following the law.

 

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