Pension dodgers face fines

| 17/05/2010

(CNS): Private sector employers that do not meet their obligations under the national pension law to pay their employee pension contributions will now face on the spot fines. The goal is to avoid the need for protracted and lengthy court proceedings to impose sanctions on non-compliant employers but to enable the pension board to impose immediate financial penalties on those that don’t pay. Speaking to CNS from the Cayman Brac on Friday Minister Rolston Anglin said that fine systems had proved to be the best way of improving compliance and reducing bureaucracy.

The Cayman Islands has a significant problem with delinquency and non-payment of pension contributions by private sector employers but veryfew have been prosecuted. The Office of the Complaints Commissioner recently revealed that more than 600 employers in Cayman are failing to meet their obligations under the law and her office was undertaking an investigation as a result of the numerous complaints made by disgruntled employees.
The private pension system in Cayman obligates all employers to provide pension schemes for staff and make a combined contribution of 10% of earnings 5 from the employee and 5 by the employer. However, some employers have failed to make any contributions fro years, despite taking the 5% from their employees.
Rolston Anglin who is Minister for Education, Training and Labour who has responsibility for pensions has proposed amending the current pension’s law and regulations to introduce administrative fines which will remove the need for a courtroom prosecution in order to bring sanctions against employer who are breaking the law.
The idea of administrative fines was raised in the Mercer report and has been advanced by several boards to deal with what are straight forward infractions.
“We expect that this will lead to more compliance with the pension requirement,” Anglin told CNS and explained that it would not impact the recent pension’s holiday which he introduced in order to give both employers and employees a temporary break from payments for up to two years.
The minister explained that as the ‘holiday’ will only be offered to employers who are either already fully compliant with the law or who have established with their pension providers a payment plan to make them compliant this potential reprieve for employers will continue unaffected.
The goal he said was to streamline the bureaucracy and make it easier to impose a direct sanction on people that were not paying.
The premier confirmed on Thursday that Cabinet has authorized the drafting of legislation that will allow the fines to be introduced as well as other changes to the law regarding pension plan registration fees. He said the fees relating to the industry had not been increased for more than ten years and revenue currently generated doesn’t cover the regulation of plans or of the system and government is bearing the greater part of the financial burden to regulate the private sector’s pension plans.
 
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  1. No Greener Pastures Here! says:

    So let me see if I can piece this nonsense to-ge-ther!!!

    The Govt. made a law that forces you to pay your hard earned money into a fund by law or else be prosecuted.

    They give your pensions to administrators the power via the same Law to rip you off and then they loose it in large sums with bad investments and no penalty to these administrators for doing so.  And the Law makes it legal for them to do this and to send the majority of your money overseas.

    When you get your retirement cheque it can’t pay for the gas to put in your car.  That is if you get a retirement cheque.

    Many people have complained their fund have lost thousands of dollars without any sight of relief or repayment of all the losses, as they are all uninsured and therefore no one is accountable to the loss that the fund has endured.  Only people hurting is the pensioner when it’s time to collect.

    Then the Govt. says we giving you a ‘pension holiday’. 

    Then a few weeks after it is made legal by the Govenor, then the Minster responsible for pensions is saying we are going to sue all those who are behind.

    Mr. Rolston, what kind of doubled edge sword are you playing with?

    Yes you are hypocritical in your statements and threats.

    I am accusing you of being embedded in a sea of ignorance and as someone who voted for you in the last election, I am saddened by your comments in this news article. 

    I suggest that you and your Govt. fire your advisors as obviously this pension vendetta is just that.  Who is it you are after Rollie, has someone out here ruffled your feathers now you have to get them back?

    I wonder which businesses are going to come under fire?  Will those who are the big UDP supporters be omitted from this threat or will they be judged along with everyone else.  We all know there are many UDP supports who are way to hell behind in their pension payments, some are big names too.

    What is going to happen when small businesses keep failing?  Are you going to offer some recourse to protect them?  Don’t you all realize that this pension matter is the most incredible way of legalizing a Ponzi Scheme to cheat the people out of their money.

    I for one has lost almost $20, 000 in my fund, nothing has been said to me when it will be recovered, I have heard nothing from my Adminstrator about compensation. But yet, the Administrator receives their full fee upfront.  If that is not an elaborate ‘Ponzi Scheme’ then Bernie Madoff is not in jail and I am the Pope.

    Get real, and stop playing with our money before we start to retaliate on all of your asses to get back all that we have lost.  I am seriously considering suing the Govt. and the Administrators for all the money lost, don’t push my hand Rollie, because I will get as many as I can to go along with it too. 

    There are people pissed off out here about all the lost money and you are throwing out threats?

    • DMA says:

      Suggestion to all employers: Do not deduct the 5% from your employees and do not pay a dime into the pension plan from your own pockets for this miserable performance of the pension plan. Have you ever checked out the compensation of the pension fund managers (120k and up) and associated staff!? 

      As and employer /  director  you must be fit to act for the best interest of your company according to the memorandum and articles of the association. I personally call any employer / director unfit to make ANY contributions to those mismanaged funds. What will government do if ALL employers pull on the same end of the rope? Making changes perhaps!?

      Get XXX out of your comfort zone and start adding value instead of decreasing it.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is a total distortion of facts and demonstrates a lack of understanding of how pension works, the fact that performance is different depending on the provider, and that gains or losses are not static but dynamic with the long term trend for account values to be positive over time.

      • Scrooge McDuck says:

        "not static but dynamic with the long term trend for account values to be positive over time."

        Didn’t you hear this person?  They have lost, that’s gone if you missed it, $20,000 of their pension savings.  And they aren’t the only one everyone is losing, or has lost, or is in the process of losing a good percentage of their money.  What’s "dynamic" about that?  As you say, over the long term possibly things will pick up, but by that time inflation will have eaten any "pick up".  This is something we are forced to invest in over which we have absolutely no control.  It’s worse than a savings account, worse than a savings bond, worse than a GIC, worse than an RRSP hell it’s worse than putting your money under the mattress.  At least you know it’s there and you can access it.

        Bye the way….all Pension schemes of this nature meet the criteria of a Ponzi scheme.

  2. Beachboi says:

    At one time these islands were prosperous and seemed to have a bright future.  Not anymore.  Now we have an XXXXX blustering "wannabe" dictator and I expect that we will be declared a third world country in the near future.  Maybe Steve McField can elaborate on that since he replaced our……..well he was sent to the UN as he could atleast sound like he was speaking with more than a sixth grade education.

    Oops, sorry I digressed.  What I meant to go into was this whole pension fiasco.  I started contributing to the pension plan when I was well over 40 and I have to wonder what sort of math formula they are applying that might allow me to retire on this fund.  I am a hard working middle class Caymanian and the truth is that I will not be able to enjoy a comfortable retirement unless I win the lottery.  Oops, I forgot!  Cant rely on that either!!!!  Anyway I just wish that the Pension Office would write me a check now and let me at least put my few dollars in the bank where at least I know it will not decrease even if interest rates dont rise.  Right now I am dependent on a bunch of disgruntled civil servants to invest my  few precious dollars.  It looks to me like I am going to have to work until I drop just like my grandfather did since I wont be able to retire.  I say give us the option of contributing to this fund.   Dont just put us under the outhouse, tell us that it is raining, and force us to throw away our money.  IT’S MY MONEY, AND I WANT IT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Help me J.G. Wentworth!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Minnie says:

    It appears that most comments are from people who mistakenly think the Government is trying to collect more "taxes" from people.

    Not true.

    These 600 or so companies that have not paid have quite effectively stolen the money from their employees. Funds were taken from paychecks and then not matched but kept by the employeer.

    Caymanians and ex-pats alike have been screwed.

    I do agree that if the Government is one of these emloyeers then they are guilty too.

    The Government is doing enough wrong without being blamed for something that is not their fault.

    Minnie

  4. Rabble Rouser says:

    I say $100,000 and 6 months in jail should sort them out.

    • Michael Mouse says:

      That sort of punishment is reserved for those allowing criticism of Fidel Bush.

  5. Anonymous says:

    What the so call Government needs to do is to pay all those Civil Servant that work for Government  for years, and was damage on the job then medical board without given anything to take care of his family!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and yesi do have soporting Document to prove this.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Will this be in the budget as a new revenue measure?

    Absolutely ridiculous!! This pension thing will be the death of many small businesses and does absolutely nothing for those paying into it. We have no choice and our money is being lost every day. Let us invest our own money instead of giving it to foreign entities to throw away.

    Show me one retiree that is happy with his pension based on this system and I will change my opinion. Until then, Rollie, fine me! shut me down! I sure that all of us that will be out of business will be voting for you at the next election! not…

    Why not do something constructive like reducing duty for six months like we did after Ivan to jump start the economy? It is becoming so expensive to do business here that it is no wonder that consumers are saying we are inflating prices. Trust me, most of us are barely covening our overheads to try to stay competitive and in business.

    CNS: I think you need to read this Pensions holiday starts Monday. It would be helpful if there was more about this on the Nation Pensions Office website but that doesn’t appear to have been updated since September 2009.

  7. Anonymous says:

    CNS can you do an FOI equest to find out how many government entities are in compliance and paid up to date and if they are delinquent, also how long they have been delinquent?

    Spit in the sky, it will fall in your eye, Rollie!

     

  8. Anonymous says:

    It appears that the only thing these UDP governnment members can think of these days is to threaten everybody with fines and jail terms. It seems like this is the mentality that has been developed among the UDP as they follow their Leader on to self destruction.

    I agree that employers should be compliant with the Laws of the land, but should’nt the government sweep their own backyardsfirst before they threaten employers with the very thing they condone themselves?????????

  9. Anonymous says:

    Excellent. So long as the fines are less than what I owe my staff (plus interest) that works for me. I can just continue to get work permits and make sure all my guys are not easily contactable in their home countries. I will keep sending them back, so you cannot make me pay them anyway. 

    Hell, one of my competitors owes a cool million. He has owed it for so long you cannot even find his victims. How much you going to fine him? Why are the police not involved if he deducted the money from his pay? Will party supporters get a discount or some kind of immunity?   More questions than answers.

    Oh, by the way, one of my workers just retired. He has no pension at all and I feel sorry for him. I really think social services ought to be doing more to care for him and his family – at least he is getting free medical care as an indigent, but come on Government  do more! 

    (That was sarcasm – but I will back you all the way if you do this effectively).

     

     

  10. anonymous says:

    The Government is a very good place to start with Pensions.

    A Caymanian who was employed on a Local Contract from inception because she was over age 45 and worked at that Department for Twenty (20) years and retired in December 2009 with nothing to show as a pension

    There was such a thing as a Contracted Officers Supplement to the salary which was later removed permanently. For the many years that it was removed  no  alternative was made to compensate for retirement

    As a Caymanian working for those years, and  not receiving nothing  from Government. Being a dedicated Civil Servant for all those years leaves much doubt in the minds of many Caymanians when this storey is told that nothing was received for 20 years/

    This person has reached a good age of 70 plus but is still willing to work to make ends meet without any help from Government.  Another chapter in her life was that she had been totally removed from CINICO Insurance, and does not speak well for a Civil Servant who worked rain or sunshine together with long hours of again very dedicated service to our country – what a shame!

    Here is just an example of Government’s mentality of awarding a Caymanian no pension.

    Minister Anglin,  I am hoping that you will read and see what can be put in place for this person as this was the opportune time to make this known.

    • Pending says:

      I have an immediate family memeber who has worked for GT Hospital for over 30yrs and only just started getting her pension (about 6 years) ago…how does Governement explain that one?

      she and her collegaues were also promised a pay increase last year, which they never  got, and now they are being told they are getting a pay cut…how does Government explain that?

      becauswe of that she will probably be working at GT Hospital until she dies, because the CI Government has odne nothing to reward her for all her hard work for the 24+ years before they started her pension payments. And yes she did inform them of her situation on many occasions, however like every other pressing need it fell on deaf ears……

      But when McKeeva wants it, it happens…only to those special few.

       

      It is going to bite all of them in the ass though, remember that.

  11. anonymous says:

    Very good Minister Anglin.  Now  checks and balances are required, and a few suggestions for your committee to consider

    Many indiviuals  who are reaching retirement age of 50 onwards they will be deprived of these two years for the rest of their lives, as they will not be no longer employable.  With their meager pension, I believe they will probably be a statistic for the children and family services, or someone else so why are we depriving this age group when retirement  is  on their door-step??

     What protection is in place to guard against dismissal when an employee makes a fair and justified complaint of irregularities to their pension??? 

    Make it mandatory that all Companies etc  become famaliar with the Labour Law//Regs and the Pension Law/Regs and not use their imported ways of dealing with issues.

     

  12. Anonymous says:

    Nice thought, but…if this proposed change in the law takes as many years as the Nat Conservation Law to get to the LA – and lets face it, penalising  Caymanian companies has no significant voter or political support so it wont be any time soon – then all you 600+ delinquent companies out there will just keep on thieving for at least another couple of years, free from the threat of prosecution.

    If Govt seriously wants to send a message of unacceptability to delinquent employers in the interim, why doesn’t it publically name & shame all 600 and let the public decide whether or not to use their services? No fair person will surely support these thieving companies, but we dont know who they are. Why does the NPO moan about lack of staff resources yet protect the identity of the thieves by not listing them on its website, together with the amount each is in arrears? Maybe Mickey Mouse could FOI this list and post the response on the CNS website…

    • John Evans says:

      And I know who would be near the top of that list!

      What I never understood (and neither did the people I spoke to at the NPO) is why the two basic measures to ensure compliance were never properly implemented.

      The first is a simple requirement that the pension fund holders notify the NPO when an employer goes a month behind with payments – it dosn’t happen.

      The second was an agreement that Immigration would hold workpermit applications to deliquent employers until arrears were paid – they never did it.

      In both cases it seems the system could be bypassed by the employer, I leave you to judge how that might be.

  13. Small Biz Owner says:

    When these Government Ministers step off their pedestals and ask the small business owners how they are doing with this stupid pension racket then Rolston Anglin can come and sue us.

    First let me say that if this Government proposes to sue any entity for non compliance of pensions, they better straighten their own pension fiasco out first.  First take the log out of your eye before you take the speck out of ours.

    Secondly, these pension administrators for years have lost our money, at the hands of the Govt. because they gave them the legal right to throw our hard earnings away.  However, if you look at the law you won’t see any place where it penalizes the administrators for loosing your money.

    Mr. Rolston, you can sit up there on your throne and throw around your threats, but buddy you better look deeper before you start hammering your people into the mud further. 

    Everyone who had a small business in this country thanks to the UDP Govt. they no longer have it, or it’s on the verge of being defunct.  But yet you have the nerve to talk about prosecuting businesses who haven’t complied. 

    Since you have 600 businesses that have not complied, I hope you will be starting with those with the deepest pockets, becuase of the UDP’s poor as piss goverance many have no money to pay pensions or anything else for that matter.

    Get off your high horse Rolston, and take a realty check man, you are living in a time bubble, it will soon break.  Why don’t you take a heafty payroll cut then Rolston that would make people out here feel better about your a$$.

    If the UDP wants this country’s confidence back they better start with no threats, no taxes and last but not least get your own selves under control and stop trying to send your people to the poor house, oh I forgot you all can’t see past your freaking noses to see what is happening to people out here. 

    XXXXX

  14. Anonymous says:

    Talk about confusing. Maybe someone needs to shout and raise fees on  MLAs for their clear as mud messages. What The %$#@ are you saying man?

    • Anonymous says:

      This pension thing is not working as I RETIRED THINKING THAT i wouldreceice a decent monthly cheque, only to find out that quite a big chunk of my money is lost in the investment. It would have been better if the money was paid out to me with my salary and I would have put it into property or what have you. What  I AM NOW RWCEIVING AFTER PAYING INTO MY PENSION FOR 22 YEARS CAN ONLY PUT GAS IN MY CAR.

       

      • noname says:

        The payoffs and the ripoffs that’s how it goes Suck it up my friend what do you expect Gold at the end of the Rainbow don’t you understand we living on debt refinancing only the wealthy is going to survive. You better thank the good Lord you getting gas money

  15. Anonymous says:

    Just wondering whether all Govt departments and all Govt entities are in compliance with the pension law as well? And if not how much is owed, from when, and involving how many employees? And would the Ministers not be responsible for missed payments under their respective portfolios?

    In the private sector responsibility rests with the man at the top – so dont the ministers have responsibility?

    A FOI request addressed to Mr. Anglin might shed some light on this!

    FOI – anyone?

     

  16. Anonymous says:

    Rollie, do you not realize how hypocritical this position is?

  17. Anonymous says:

    Blah – Blah – Blah, When I see some employer actually fined then perhaps I will think that this is more than just talk.

    So many laws are not enforced in Cayman no one believes this will actually happen.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I hope to see the same thing (spot fines) done soon for traffic violations. Talk about a waste of the court’s time and money…

  19. Anonymous says:

    Good news and thank you Mr. Anglin.

    But could you go further and tell us if employees are still responsible in putting their a$$e$ on the line in making a complaint? Or is it the duty of the pension administrators when they see a discrepancy or are notified by an account holder after receiving a statement?   As it stands right now retribution is possible for employees and I could name many who are in this dilemma.  That is one of the reasons there are so many outstanding cases.  This is a problem that must also be addressed for this to become effective.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Government needs to get its own house in order first.  As an employee of a government owned company, I’m still waiting to see pension contributions from last year!  Naturally, it’s more of "do as I say and not as I do."