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  • The Senate, on Friday, June 27, approved the Financial Services Commission (Amendment of Fourth Schedule) Order, which allows fixed penalties for breaches made under the Pensions (Superannuation Funds and Retirement Schemes) Act.
  • The penalties range from $50,000 for failure to display a certificate of registration or licensing certificate, to $200,000 for performing duties as a fund administrator without being licensed.
  • The move is in line with provisions in relation to the securities and insurance industries, where persons are allowed to pay a fixed penalty for breaches in lieu of prosecution.

The Senate, on Friday, June 27, approved the Financial Services Commission (Amendment of Fourth Schedule) Order, which allows fixed penalties for breaches made under the Pensions (Superannuation Funds and Retirement Schemes) Act.

The penalties range from $50,000 for failure to display a certificate of registration or licensing certificate, to $200,000 for performing duties as a fund administrator without being licensed.

The move is in line with provisions in relation to the securities and insurance industries, where persons are allowed to pay a fixed penalty for breaches in lieu of prosecution.

“Currently the fourth schedule does not include the offences under the Pensions (Superannuation Funds and Retirement Schemes) Act as this Act was promulgated in 2005, which was subsequent to the passing of the FSC Act,” explained Minister of Justice, Senator Mark Golding.

“Given the proven benefits of the fixed penalty regime in easing the strain on the Director of Public Prosecutions while at the same time enabling the execution of relatively swift enforcement action on the part of the FSC, the decision was taken to make this regulatory tool also available to the FSC in relation to breaches under the Pensions Act,” he added.

He noted that the FSC consulted with the pensions industry on the fixed penalties and “there have been no objections from the industries.”

In his remarks, Opposition Senator, Ruel Reid while commending the Justice Minister for doing “good work in tiding up the financial services”, expressed concern at the level of fines being proposed.

“I am saying that these penalties as is are woefully inadequate. I cannot support these low fines as being deterrent. We have a bad culture in Jamaica that people don’t comply. If we want it to be a deterrent we need it to have substantial teeth (and) have the effect of preventing persons from carrying out breaches,” Senator Reid said.

In his comments, Senator K.D. Knight noted that the fines outlined are not really intended to be a deterrent.

“There are intended to facilitate the process to prevent the clogging of a system. That is what they are intended for,” Senator Knight said.

In closing, Senator Golding noted that the fixed penalties take into account the nature of the pension industry, while adding that the specifics of the fines “are reasonable.”

The Order was approved without any amendments.