Pensions move urged

IRISH Life & Permanent (ILP) has called on the Government to do more to encourage the take-up of personal pensions.

The mortgage and life assurance provider estimated that 15,000 people had taken out a Personal Retirement Savings Account (PRSA), following the Government’s drive last year to increase private pensions coverage from 50% to 70% of the workforce. ILP said it held approximately 40% share of the PRSA market and had signed up 5,400 PRSA customers, who were making annual contributions of approximately €16 million to their pensions.

ILP said more work needed to be done to make employers comply with new pensions legislation.

Employers were required to designate a PRSA provider before the end of September last year to facilitate employees who wished take out a personal pension.

Only 51,000 of an estimated 150,000 employers met this requirement, according to figures from the Pensions Board, the Government-sponsored body charged with improving pension coverage.

ILP said 70% of its PRSA customers took out their pension through their employer. It said that convincing employers to designate a PRSA provider would encourage PRSA take-up and help the Government to meet its target.

In a separate development, ILP subsidiary Permanent TSB joined the group of lenders providing tracker mortgages, which offer loans at fixed margins over the European Central Bank (ECB) base rate. On the same day as rival First Active launched tracker mortgages aimed at borrowers of €250,000 or more, Permanent TSB moved to include first-time buyers on its radar by offering tracker mortgages from €150,000, for amounts up to 92% of house value.

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