Anger as Church of Ireland winds up defined benefit scheme
THE Church of Ireland has moved to wind up a defined benefit pension scheme for administrative staff.
The scheme covers members of the Representative Church Body (RCB), which provides administrative services to the church.
Its main activities are described on the church’s website as involving “management of investments, administration of trusts and deeds of covenant, payment of clergy stipends and pensions, custodial and legal services as corporate trustee of property, legal transactions and treasury management as well as supporting the core work of the church”.
The move mirrors similar efforts by a range of corporate entities. A defined benefit scheme is designed to guarantee a certain income to scheme members on retirement, but many schemes ran into financial difficulty on foot of the crash, and later the low-yield environment.
The wind up of the pension has caused considerable disquiet among scheme members. A spokesman for the Church of Ireland confirmed to the Sunday Independent that the scheme is to be wound up. The spokesman said that at the church’s annual general synod, which finished yesterday, chairman of the RCB executive Henry Saville acknowledged that people affected had expressed anger and frustration.
He said the executive committee “remains convinced that the decisions taken were not just in the best interests of the RCB, as a trustee body, but also in the interests of all staff ”.
The church’s website says that as of the end of 2016, it had general reserves of almost €180m. In addition, two specific trusts are listed covering the Republic and Northern Ireland, with €222.2m in the former and £51.9m in the latter.
Meanwhile, a motion calling for the reduction of exposure to fossil fuel investments was passed.
Christ Church Cathedral, the cathedral of the Church of Ireland’s United Dioceses of Dublin and Glendalough