Planning for retirement is now more important than ever. Longer life expectancy means that many of us will spend up to a third of our lives in retirement. Retirement planning is crucial to help you maintain your current lifestyle during retirement and pensions remain one of the most tax-efficient means of investing and accumulating assets over time.

Merrion is a full service provider of tax approved pension structures. Our team of pension specialists works to deliver in-house tailored retirement planning solutions for clients.

Merrion’s Pension Services: Key Points
  • Control and ownership of pension assets by the individual;
  • Charging structure is visible and fully transparent
  • Personalised investment and pension advice;
  • Full transparency with 24/7 online portfolio access to view investments and valuations;
  • There are no lock-in periods, no bid/offer spreads and no early exit penalties within our pension structures.

Our personalised pension structures offer clients investment flexibility, control and transparency. For assistance with choosing a pension that meets your needs, contact us on +353 1 2404100 or please email our dedicated team; email address

PRSA - Personal Retirement Savings Account

What is a PRSA?

Essentially, a PRSA is a tax approved investment account for retirement purposes. Its main objective is to combine elements of the existing personal pension and occupational pension regimes.

PRSAs were introduced by the Pensions (Amendment) Act, 2002. Under the Act, a PRSA is an account established by an individual with a PRSA provider under the terms of a PRSA contract. PRSA providers are persons authorised to produce, market or sell PRSA products, under which they receive monies and invest them on behalf of the individual.


PRSAs are available to you regardless of your job or employment status. You can get a PRSA if you are a part-time or casual employee, a professional, self-employed, a homemaker, a carer, a jobseeker, a contractor, an employer, an employee or a partner in a partnership.

You can take out a PRSA if you are not resident for tax purposes in Ireland. However you will not be eligible for tax relief on contributions to the PRSA if you are not resident in Ireland for tax purposes. Your self-employment, employment, or occupation must be liable to tax under Schedule D or E in the Republic of Ireland in order to claim tax relief on premiums paid into the PRSA.

You may also be able to take out a PRSA in respect of Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs) (an AVC PRSA) if you are a member of an Occupational Pension Scheme (OPS) with your employer.

Transfers into a PRSA

Potentially transfer values can be paid into a PRSA from the following sources:

  • A transfer value from another PRSA;
  • A transfer value from a Personal Pension Plan, which is being terminated;
  • A transfer value from Occupational Pension Scheme (OPS) in the state which will be subject to certain restrictions;
  • A refund of personal contributions from OPS in the state. If the refund is paid to a PRSA, tax does not have to be deducted by the scheme from the refund; or
  • A transfer value from an approved overseas pension arrangement.

It is important to note that no charges will be imposed on any transfers received to your Merrion Advisory PRSA from the above sources.

Regulatory Information

Merrion is approved by the Pensions Authority and Revenue Commissioners as an authorised Non – Standard PRSA Provider

Approved Retirement Funds

What is an Approved Retirement Fund (ARF)?

An ARF is a personal investment account into which certain individuals can, in certain circumstances, transfer part of their retirement fund after payment of a tax free lump sum, instead of using those funds to buy an annuity or take their retirement benefit as a pension. It is, therefore, an alternative option to an annuity or pension. An ARF is a post retirement investment vehicle where the ARF holder retains full ownership of their retirement fund.

What is an Approved Minimum Retirement Fund (AMRF)?

If you do not have a guaranteed income for life of at least €12,700 per annum (including the state pension), you must set aside at least €63,500 to purchase a pension or place this amount in an AMRF. An AMRF is like an ARF except that you cannot withdraw your original investment until you are aged 75.


An ARF can accept transfers from a range of pensions, including;

  • Personal Retirement Savings Account (PRSA);
  • Personal Pension Plans/ Retirement Annuity Contracts;
  • Occupational Pension Schemes (subject to certain restrictions);
  • Personal Retirement Bonds (subject to certain restrictions); and
  • Additional Voluntary contribution (AVC) Schemes.
Withdrawals from an ARF

You may withdraw funds from your ARF as and when required. Any withdrawal is subject to income tax at your marginal rate plus the Universal Social Charge and PRSI, if applicable. Deductions are operated by the Qualifying Fund Manager (QFM) at source.

Imputed Distributions from an ARF

ARFs and Vested PRSAs are subject to an imputed distribution regime. Under this regime, an annual payment/distribution (based on a percentage of the fund of assets) is deemed to be made to the ARF/PRSA holder (whether this payment is made or not) and this deemed distribution is subject to income tax.

The imputed distribution rates applying for 2016 are as follows:

Age throughout 2016 Total ARF and Vested PRSA funds is €2m or less Total ARF & Vested PRSA funds greater than €2m
< 61 Nil Nil
61-70 4% 6%
71 and over 5% 6%
Regulatory Information

Merrion is authorised to act as a Qualifying Fund Manager (QFM) for the management of A(M)RFs.


Executive Pension Plan

An Executive Pension Plan is available to senior executives or company directors receiving Schedule E remuneration for income tax purposes.

Tax relief

Contributions paid by the company will qualify for corporation tax relief (within certain limits)

  • Contributions paid by you will qualify for income tax relief (within certain limits)
  • No Capital Gains Tax when you sell your assets

Personal Retirement Bonds

A Personal Retirement Bond (PRB), which is also sometimes known as a Buy-Out-Bond, is used by the trustees of a pension scheme to buy retirement benefits for former members of their pension scheme. A Personal Retirement Bond is a personal policy in the name of the Personal Retirement Bond holder. When a member leaves a pension scheme, the value of their fund when they leave the pension scheme is invested in the bond. When they retire, they can then use the proceeds of the Personal Retirement Bond to provide retirement benefits.

Personal Retirement Bond Eligibility

You may be eligible to take out a Personal Retirement Bond if you are: 

  • An existing Personal Retirement Bond holder;
  • A deferred member of a company pension scheme; or
  • A member of either Defined Contribution or Defined Benefit company pension scheme being wound up.


Warning: The value of your investment may go down as well as up. Warning: If you invest in this product you may lose some or all of the money you invest. Warning: If you invest in this product you will not have any access to your money until you retire. Warning: Information provided on the Merrion website does not constitute investment advice as it does not take into account the investment objectives, knowledge and experience or financial situation of any particular person. You should ensure that you understand the risks associated with any investment prior to making an investment decision.