Pensions Board urged to raise awareness of PRSA deadline

THE Pensions Board should do more to raise awareness of the September 15 deadline for Personal Retirement Savings Accounts.

That’s when all employers will be obliged to have service providers or a provider available to workers who do not have pensions.

Ark Life head of marketing Bernard Lynch has complained that to date the raising of awareness on PRSAs has fallen to Ark life and Irish Life, who have been promoting the personal pension plans through their advertising campaigns.

It should not be left to just a handful of the providers to get the message to employers about the impending deadline, said Mr Lynch.

Meanwhile, research compiled for Ark shows a better level of awareness among key segments of the PRSA market than previously claimed. Ark Life is AIB’s life and pensions company. In a recent survey it found awareness of and interest in PRSAs despite recent negative publicity concerning the uptake of PRSAs, said Mr Lynch.

In a recent survey of 500 workers conducted on behalf of Ark Life by Behaviour & Attitudes, 62% of respondents were aware of PRSAs, while 60% of those who had heard of PRSAs thought they were a good idea, while 37% believed a PRSA was worth investing in.

“Of the 62% of people who had heard of PRSAs, only 19% had heard about them from their employer. Our research indicates that it is mainly through the media campaigns conducted by AIB and others that people are learning about PRSAs. This highlights once again the importance of the Pensions Board and the industry to continue to provide information on PRSAs in the press and on TV/radio,” said Mr Lynch.

With just over 20 working days to go before employers are obliged to offer a PRSA to all who do not currently have access to a pension arrangement, Ark Life is running a new information campaign on radio to encourage employers to meet their obligations under the pensions legislation.

Recent surveys on consumer awareness of PRSAs and the very slow take-up has raised doubts about their future success.

So far, the numbers have been very small and the introduction of non-standard PRASs has ben condemned by some as having confused the market. The idea was to introduce a simple low-cost product that could be easily understood by all.

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