Anger as Church of Ire­land winds up defined ben­e­fit scheme

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Business & Appointments - - FRONT PAGE - Gavin Mclough­lin

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

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