Pension plans are generally categorised into four (4) broad areas:
· Government Pension Schemes which are established by governments for employees in the service of the government. Such a scheme was established in St. Lucia pursuant to the Pensions Act, Cap. 15.26 of the 2008 Revised Laws of Saint Lucia (the Pensions Act).
· National Pension Schemes are schemes established for eligible employees of a country usually requiring mandatory participation by all persons who qualify. The only such scheme in St. Lucia is the National Insurance Scheme (NIS).
· Private Occupational Pension Schemes (POPS) – POPS are established by employers for eligible individuals in their employ. Employers are usually not required to establish a pension scheme for their employees; however, it is not uncommon for such a plan to be established pursuant to trade union negotiation.
· Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) are often offered by financial institutions such as banks, insurance companies and other non-deposit taking institutions. Such accounts are market.
The Insurance Act Chapter 12.08 of the 2008 Revised Laws of Saint Lucia (the Insurance Act) provides for the registration and regulation of pension fund plans under Part 9 (Section 142 to Section 153). Pension plans which qualify for registration under the Insurance Act are Private Occupational Pension Schemes (POPS) provided that the trust deed and rules make provision for all requirements stated in Part 1 of Schedule 5 of the Insurance Act.
All Private Occupational Pension Schemes are required to be registered under the Insurance Act to operate in Saint Lucia.
To be registered, the trustees of the plan must apply for registration by submitting an application form (obtained at the FSRA) along with the following documents:
· a copy of the bank deposit slip evidencing payment of the $500 registration fee,
· a copy of the trust deed of the plan,
· a copy of the rules of the plan,
· a copy of the actuarial report on which the plan is based,
· a list of the names and addresses of the trustees of the plan,
· in the case of an insured plan a copy of the policy of insurance related to benefits provided by the plan, and
· such other documents or further information as may be required by the FSRA.
The trustees of a registered pension fund plan are required to comply with various requirements set out under the Insurance Act and in the constitutive documents of the plan (the trust deed and the rules). The requirements are designed to facilitate proper governance of the pension plan for the benefit of the members of the plan and their beneficiaries. Failure to adhere to the stipulations may result in the application of fines by the FSRA.
Requirements under Part 9 of the Insurance Act include:
1. Investment of the assets of the Plan only in the securities prescribed in Schedule 4 of the Insurance Act.
2. Submission of accounts of the pension plan to the FSRA within 6 months of the expiration of the Plan’s financial year. The accounts must be audited and be in the format prescribed under Part 2 of Schedule 5 of the Insurance Act.
3. The appointment of an actuary to make an investigation into the financial condition of the pension plan and submission of actuary’s report to the FSRA
4. The making of an application to the FSRA for the registration of the following within 21 days of the happening of the event:
· a change to the address of the pension plan
· a change to the names of the trustees
· a change to the addresses of the trustees
· an amendment to the trust deed of the pension plan
· an amendment to the rules of the pension plan
· Notification to the FSRA of the completion of the wind-up of the Plan.