Brexit risk to your pen­sion pay­ments

■ Warn­ing of ‘panic among el­derly’ as peo­ple urged to open UK ac­count

Irish Independent - - Front Page - Kevin Doyle and Char­lie We­ston

THOU­SANDS of Ir­ish re­tirees are at risk of los­ing UK pen­sion pay­ments as Bri­tain’s plans to pull out of the Euro­pean Union.

The is­sue is a huge risk to the pen­sion pay­ments of peo­ple who worked in the UK and get ei­ther a UK state pen­sion, a Bri­tish pri­vate pen­sion or both.

It is likely to af­fect peo­ple who worked in North­ern Ire­land but live in the Repub­lic and re­ceive a ster­ling pen­sion.

Around 120,000 peo­ple here are in re­ceipt of a Bri­tish state pen­sion, hav­ing worked in the UK in the past. It is not known how many also get pri­vate pen­sions from Bri­tain. The is­sue will also af­fect Bri­tish peo­ple who have re­tired here.

Fianna Fáil TD John Bras­sil, who has been con­tacted by an af­fected con­stituent, said the sit­u­a­tion had the po­ten­tial to be a “huge is­sue”, adding: “When older peo­ple see a let­ter say­ing they mightn’t be able to get their money, they panic.”

Not­ing that pen­sion­ers are be­ing told to open a UK bank ac­count, Mr Bras­sil said: “It would be eas­ier to rob the bank than open an ac­count from here.”

PEN­SION pay­ments be­ing made to thou­sands of peo­ple in this coun­try are threat­ened by Bri­tain’s plans to pull out of the Euro­pean Union, it has emerged.

The is­sue is a huge risk to the pen­sion pay­ments of peo­ple who worked in the UK and get ei­ther a UK state pen­sion, a Bri­tish pri­vate pen­sion or both.

And it is likely to af­fect peo­ple who worked in North­ern Ire­land but live in the Repub­lic and re­ceive a ster­ling pen­sion.

Around 120,000 peo­ple here are in re­ceipt of a Bri­tish state pen­sion, hav­ing worked in the UK in the past. It is not known how many also get pri­vate pen­sions from Bri­tain. The is­sue will also af­fect Bri­tish peo­ple who have re­tired here.

Brexit could mean that the UK gov­ern­ment and the providers of pri­vate pen­sions to peo­ple based here will no longer be able to pay them into Ir­ish bank ac­counts.

The Ir­ish In­de­pen­dent has seen cor­re­spon­dence from one pen­sion provider, ad­vis­ing its Ire­land-based pen­sion re­cip­i­ents to open bank ac­counts in the UK in order to avoid the loss of pay­ments. Pen­sion In­sur­ance Cor­po­ra­tion wrote to its mem­bers here, stat­ing: “As it stands, in­sur­ance providers may not be able to con­tinue pay­ing out to over­seas bank ac­counts af­ter Bri­tain leaves the EU in March 2019.”

The mas­sive in­surer, which pays pen­sions to 150,000 peo­ple in Bri­tain and Ire­land, said that if a deal on fu­ture bank­ing ar­range­ments is not reached by March, it “will need to pay your pen­sion into a UK bank ac­count”.

Fianna Fáil TD John Bras­sil, who has been con­tacted by an af­fected con­stituent, said the sit­u­a­tion had the po­ten­tial to be a “huge is­sue”.

The Tip­per­ary TD said: “When older peo­ple see a let­ter like that, say­ing they mightn’t be able to get their money, they panic.”

Mr Bras­sil has called on Tá­naiste Si­mon Coveney to en­sure that ‘fi­nan­cial pass­port­ing’ be­tween the UK and Ire­land is dealt with swiftly as part of the on­go­ing Brexit ne­go­ti­a­tions.

Not­ing that pen­sion­ers are be­ing told to open a UK bank ac­count, Mr Bras­sil said: “It would be eas­ier to rob the bank than open an ac­count from here.”

The head of the Ir­ish As­so­ci­a­tion of Pen­sion Funds, Jerry Mo­ri­arty, said tens of thou­sands of peo­ple in this coun­try are paid Bri­tish pen­sions.

He said: “Un­der Euro­pean Union rules, you have a right to have your pen­sion paid into any mem­ber state, but no one has a clue how this will work out when Bri­tain leaves the EU.”

Mr Mo­ri­arty also noted that it was not pos­si­ble for Ir­ish peo­ple to open a UK bank ac­count with­out a UK ad­dress.

“There isn’t any­thing prac­ti­cal peo­ple can do about this sit­u­a­tion at the mo­ment,” said Mr Mo­ri­arty, who is also vice-chair­man of Pen­sions Europe.

The As­so­ci­a­tion of Bri­tish In­sur­ers has warned that the risk of Bri­tain leav­ing the sin­gle mar­ket means in­sur­ers will lose their li­cence to pro­vide in­sur­ance in the cus­tomer’s ju­ris­dic­tion and there­fore can­not legally ful­fil their con­tracts and pay pen­sions.

“This could mean that cross-bor­der pen­sion pay­ments from the UK into the EU or the EU into the UK can­not be paid. It would also af­fect the abil­ity to pay claims on many li­a­bil­ity in­sur­ance con­tracts of­fered to busi­nesses on a pan-EU ba­sis.”

Ac­coun­tant Frank Buck­ley, who runs USP Fi­nan­cial in Tul­lam­ore, Co Of­faly, said it was likely that an agree­ment would be struck to fa­cil­i­tate con­tin­ued cross-bor­der pay­ments.

Asked why peo­ple here could not be paid by cheque, a spokesman for Pen­sion In­sur­ance Cor­po­ra­tion said: “We are in­ves­ti­gat­ing con­tin­gency plans and talk­ing to the ap­pro­pri­ate reg­u­la­tors.”

The di­rec­tor of the Bank­ing and Pay­ments Fed­er­a­tion Ire­land, Maurice Crow­ley, said that he did not fore­see any changes in pay­ments ar­range­ments af­ter Brexit.

He added that Bri­tain was set to stay in the EU’s Sin­gle Euro­pean Pay­ments Area (Sepa) process, which allows for cross-bor­der pay­ments.

zoned for res­i­den­tial de­vel­op­ment in an area that needs hous­ing.

Among the new list of land­banks threat­ened with a land-hoard­ing levy is a three-acre site be­side the fam­ily home of former build­ing so­ci­ety boss Mr Fin­gle­ton

(in­set) and his wife Eileen. Ms Fin­gle­ton is listed as the owner of the land at ‘Liskilleen’, Abing­don Park, Shanganagh, Dublin 18.

Mr MacKen­zie is fac­ing a po­ten­tially hefty levy af­ter the coun­cil listed his land at Ted­cas­tles Yard in Dún Laoghaire. The coun­cil granted per­mis­sion to Mr MacKen­zie in 2003 to de­velop a site at the junc­tion of Dun­leary Road and Dun­leary Hill Lower as of­fices, shops, a leisure cen­tre and a 63-unit apart­ment com­plex. De­vel­op­ment land linked to Mr Cot­ter has also been in­cluded in the reg­is­ter. The site – a large land­bank ad­ja­cent to the former Bri­tish Am­bas­sador’s res­i­dence, Glen­cairn House, in Sandy­ford – is owned by a Cot­ter firm, Cast­dale Limited.

John Bras­sil TD has warned of ‘panic’ among el­derly peo­ple

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