Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar has informed the Cabinet that he has appointed Ger Deering as Pensions Ombudsman with effect from 18 May 2016. Mr Deering replaces Paul Kenny who has retired after serving as Pensions Ombudsman since April 2003.
The role of Pensions Ombudsman is to investigate complaints of financial loss due to maladministration and disputes of fact or law in relation to occupational pension schemes and Personal Retirement Savings Accounts (PRSAs). The Pensions Ombudsman performs these functions independently and acts as an impartial adjudicator.
“I am pleased to announce the appointment of Ger Deering as Pensions Ombudsman and I look forward to working with him over his term in office. I want to thank Paul Kenny for the service he has provided to the pension scheme members he has dealt with over many years,” Minister Varadkar said.
“Pension reform is one of my priorities for the Department of Social Protection. Successful reform depends on the public and industry having confidence in the pensions sector, and the role of the Pensions Ombudsman is a key building block for public confidence.”
Mr Deering will continue to serve as the Financial Services Ombudsman. Recent legislative changes have enabled the appointment of the Financial Services Ombudsman as Pensions Ombudsman. Where the office of the Pensions Ombudsman is held by the Financial Services Ombudsman, no salary or remuneration is received in respect of the office of the Pensions Ombudsman.
This appointment is being made pending the introduction of legislation by the Minister for Finance to merge the Office of the Pensions Ombudsman with the Office of the Financial Services Ombudsman.
The merger legislation arises from recommendations made by a Steering Group established to conduct a Critical Review under the Public Service Reform Programme and which were approved by Government.
The merger will provide consumers with a one-stop shop for enquiries and complaints on pensions and financial products.