Authorisation of a pension fund
Approval of pension rules and technical note
Each pension fund must draw up pension rules which describe the characteristics of the pension scheme(s) operated by the pension fund and whose minimum content is indicated in Article 69 of the Law of 13 July 2005 on institutions for occupational retirement provision in the form of pension savings companies with variable capital (SEPCAVs) and pension savings associations (ASSEPs) (Coordinated version)(the “Law”). Each pension scheme shall also be the subject of a technical note whose minimum content is set out in Article 70 of the Law.
The articles of association may provide for several sets of pension rules to exist within a pension fund. Where the pension fund operates several pension schemes or operates one scheme for several sponsoring undertakings, the articles of association may also provide that the pension rules consist of a common general part, supplemented by specific rules.
Authorisation of pension funds' governance
Article 53(5) of the Law provides that the pension fund must notify the CSSF of the identity of the members of its administrative, management and supervisory bodies. These members must substantiate their professional integrity. Professional integrity shall be assessed on the basis of the legal history and all elements likely to establish that the persons concerned are of good repute and can thus provide all the assurances associated with irreproachable business conduct.
The pension fund must effectively be operated by honourable persons who either have the adequate professional qualifications and experience themselves, or who employ advisors who have such professional qualifications and experience.
Administrative and accounting organisation
Each pension fund must have a good administrative and accounting organisation and appropriate internal auditing procedures. In this context, the Law provides that the pension fund’s central administration must be situated in Luxembourg.
Where a pension fund chooses not to delegate administrative and accounting functions, it must provide the CSSF with the required information to prove that it has the appropriate resources and infrastructure to perform its functions.
Similarly, where a pension fund chooses to manage itself assets and/or liabilities, it must provide the CSSF with information to prove that it has the means to perform these tasks.
Appointment of custodian
The custodian must be established in Luxembourg or in another Member State of the European Union and must have been duly authorised in accordance with Directive 2013/36/EU or Directive 2014/65/EU, or authorised as a custodian for the purposes of Directive 2009/65/EC or Directive 2011/61/EU.
In the case of a pension fund with multiple compartments, the Law provides for the possibility in the articles of association, for a custodian to be appointed for each compartment, provided that a compartment’s assets relate solely to the members’ rights held in that compartment and the rights of creditors whose debt arose as a result of the creation, operation or liquidation of that compartment.
Audit by a "réviseur d’entreprises agréé" (approved statutory auditor)
Pension funds must have the accounting information in their annual reports verified by a réviseur d’entreprises agréé (approved statutory auditor).
Appointment of asset manager
The articles of association may provide for the ASSEP to delegate asset management to one or more asset managers established in Luxembourg or in another Member State which are duly authorised for investment portfolio management in accordance with Directives 2009/65/EC, 2009/138/EC, 2011/61/EU, 2013/36/EU, 2014/65/EU as well as those referred to in Article 2, paragraph (1) of Directive 2016/2341/EU.
The Law also provides that delegation may also be granted to foreign professionals of non-Community origin provided that, in their home country, they are subject to permanent supervision by a supervisory authority provided for by law with the aim of ensuring investor protection. Such foreign professionals of non-Community origin must be specifically authorised by the CSSF on the basis of criteria relating to competence, integrity and financial soundness, the terms of which are set out in Grand-ducal Regulation of 20 September 2005.
Appointment of liability manager
The articles of association may provide for the delegation of liability management to one or more liability managers. The CSSF must give its consent for the appointment or dismissal of an asset manager. It assesses the asset manager’s ability to assume its task on the basis of its size, its financial capacity, its organisation and, more generally, the compatibility of its business with the pension fund’s object.
Grand-ducal Regulation of 20 September 2005 specifies the criteria of competence, good repute and financial soundness required for the authorisation of liability managers of institutions for occupational retirement provision in the form of pension savings companies with variable capital (SEPCAVs) and pension savings associations (ASSEPs).
SEPCAVs and ASSEPs may, under a European passport regime, accept sponsorship from sponsoring undertakings established in other Member States. Where SEPCAVs and ASSEPs wish to manage pension schemes for sponsoring undertakings established in other EU Member States, they must notify the CSSF of their intentions in accordance with Article 97 of the Law.
Content of application file
The authorisation application must be accompanied by all the information necessary for its examination. It must include at least the following elements:
- Draft articles of association of the pension fund;
- Draft pension rules (Art. 69(1) of the Law);
- Draft technical note (Art. 70 of the Law);
- Draft statement of its investment policy principles (Art. 53(6) of the Law);
- Pension funds operating occupational pension schemes for which they cover against biometric risk and/or guarantee either the investment performance or a given level of benefits shall also submit a financing plan for each pension scheme (Art. 53(4) of the Law);
- An activities schedule for each pensions scheme (Art. 53(4) of the Law);
- Composition of the board of directors, the board of managers and the supervisory board of the pension fund. The dated and signed curriculum vitae of these persons, the recent extracts from their police record, a copy of their ID card, and their signed declaration of honour (cf. Section: Forms) (Art. 53(5) of the Law);
- Information relating to the custodian;
- Identity of the asset and/or liability managers, where applicable;
- Information on the administrative and accounting organisation;
- Draft custodian agreement as well as draft agreements to be concluded with any other service providers;
- Identity of the réviseur d’entreprises agréé (approved statutory auditor) and a copy of the engagement letter signed with the réviseur d’entreprises agréé (Art. 90 of the Law);
- Description of AML/KYC procedures;
- Conflicts of interest policy;
- Description of the key functions;
- Remuneration policy;
- Information relating to the sponsoring undertaking(s).
The CSSF reserves the right to request any other information it deems necessary for the purpose of processing the application file.