Seán Fitzpatrick

The country's leading pension authorities are increasingly concerned about the way former Anglo Irish Bank chairman Seán FitzPatrick split his €3.7m pension with his wife Catriona, the Sunday Tribune has learned.

The experts say that if the bankruptcy court's assignee fails in a challenge to unpick the "unusual" joint funding, then complex pension law and rules governing privately-funded pensions here, will need urgent reviewing.

Experts say they are puzzled that only the barest of details have been confirmed about the status of the pension owned by FitzPatrick, who was officially declared a bankrupt last month.

The Pensions Board regulator, chaired by Tiernan O'Mahoney, former chief operations officer until 2005 at Anglo Irish, is unlikely to investigate the terms of his pension because the regulator's remit under the Pension Act does not extend to privately-funded pensions.

The county's leading pension advisers continue to be baffled that FitzPatrick was able, seemingly legitimately, to split the funding of his own pension with his wife, thus protecting it from creditors.

Last month, the assignee was reportedly said to be preparing to investigate the arrangement under which Seán FitzPatrick funded Catriona FitzPatrick's pension.

Experts say that if the loopholes are not closed it will make pension law here unworkable.