PRSA figures for fourth quarter 2005

Thursday 3 February 2006: The Pensions Board today announced 4th quarter data for Personal Retirement Savings Accounts (PRSAs), received from all 10 PRSA providers to the end of December 2005.

The data shows that 68,257 PRSAs have now been taken out, comprising 53,001 Standard PRSAs and 15,256 non-Standard PRSAs, with a total asset value of €451m. At end of December 2005, 76,304 employers had signed up with a PRSA provider under the employer mandatory access requirements and the data shows that 27,381 employees have taken out PRSAs through their employer.

Anne Maher, Chief Executive of the Pensions Board, said “The Pensions Board welcomes the additional pension coverage but the figures do not show any change in the overall trend on PRSA take up. This issue was addressed in the recent National Pensions Review report of the Pensions Board. The review includes various recommendations which the Board believes would improve pension coverage but, more importantly, the report states clearly that changes will need to be made in order to ensure future pension provision. In this context, the Pensions Board welcomes yesterday’s announcements by the Minister for Finance and recognises these as a useful first step”.

Details of the PRSA figures at the end of December 2005 are attached.

PRSA Figures at 31 December 2005

Cumulative Value of Assets €451,736,241.95
Total Number of PRSA Contracts Sold 68,257

Standard 53,001
non-Standard 15,256

Total Number of Employers who have designated a PRSA Provider 76,304

- number of these designations where contributions are being made 8,710

- number of PRSA contracts under the designations 27,381*

*This figure is included under the total number of PRSA contracts sold

Notes to Editors:

1. The Pensions Board is the statutory body set up to regulate occupational pension schemes and PRSAs and to advise the Minister for Social and Family Affairs, and through him, the Government, on overall pension policy development. See www.pensionsboard.ie

2. A PRSA is a contract between an individual and an authorised PRSA provider in the form of an investment account that can be used to save for retirement. It is a personal pension plan where the contributions paid are tax deductible and the investment return is tax exempted. There are two types of PRSA - a Standard PRSA and a non- Standard PRSA.

3. All employers were required on 15th September 2003 to enter into a contract with a PRSA provider so that access to at least one Standard PRSA is available for all “excluded employees” on and from that date.
Excluded employees are:
• Employees of an employer who does not offer an occupational pension scheme, or
• Employees included in an occupational pension scheme for death in service benefits only, or
• Employees included in an occupational pension scheme that does not permit the payment of additional voluntary contributions, or
• Employees who are ineligible to join the occupational pension scheme and who will not, under the rules, become eligible to join the scheme for pension benefits within 6 months from the date they commenced employment.

4. The National Pensions Review report includes a review of previously agreed pension targets, an assessment of current coverage and adequacy and discussion of the strategic options for meeting the agreed targets. It contains an Overview and a Summary, Recommendations and Next Steps as well as the full Report and underlying Appendices. The Report is published online at www.pensionsboard.ie

For further information:

Mary Hutch
Head of Information and Training
The Pensions Board
Tel: (01) 6131900

Philip Dalton
Head of PRSA’s
The Pensions Board
Tel: (01) 6131900

Jackie Gallagher Q4 PR
Tel: (01) 4751444
087-2371838