We have mentioned in previous articles (see here) that there have been significant changes in recent months regarding changes in the way in which Company Directors can fund for retirement, by using Personal Retirement Savings Accounts (PRSA’s). This was previously not an attractive option, as Employer contributions were classified as Benefit in Kind, and treated as so for tax purposes. 

The new legislative changes therefore opened PRSA’s as a route for Company Directors to extract monies from the Company structure, with no limits other than the (Standard Fund Threshold, currently €2M) – and the Company’s capacity to fund a significant contribution and/or the potential to offset Corporation Tax. Additionally, another attractive change is that this expense seems to be allowed as an expense in the year in which the contributions are paid, (with no upper limit) rather than being spread forward. 

For those that have Executive Pensions in place already, and are considering a move over to a PRSA structure, what are the differences between a PRSA and an Executive Pension (now that some have moved over under the ‘Master Trust’ and the rest have now to follow)?

 ** it is possible to have both**


Executive Pension


Policy Owner



Funding Limits



Tax Relief on Employer contributions



Retirement Age



Option to phase in retirement Benefits



Lump Sum Option






Death of Policyholder





Yes, restricted to max pension, salary and service formula in Revenue manual.



Yes, relief on Ordinary Annual Contribution in year contribution is paid, Special Contributions may be carried forward.



60-70 if left service, from age 50



No, all benefits from same employment must be retired at same time.



25% of fund & ARF/Annuity/Taxable Lump Sum

 or  Salary & Service & Annuity



Subject to Investment regulation & restriction



Revenue Max. of 4 x salary + employee contributions & AVC less retained lump sums from previous Schemes. Balance used for dependents pensions/ARF


Policy Owner



Unlimited apart from €2m



All contributions paid receive immediate tax relief.



60-75. If left current employment, can take benefits from 50. 



Yes, split into multiple PRSAs and retire up to 70



25% & ARF/Annuity/Taxable Lump Sum/Leave in PRSA



No IORP II Regulation/restriction



Full value paid as Lump Sum to Estate of policyholder


Pension Fund Thresholds

As mentioned it is possible to fund the PRSA to the maximum €2m if a Company so wished, FJ Hanly & Associates can help executives navigate the Pension Fund Thresholds and Excess Tax. The firm helps clients crunch the numbers, enabling them to identify any future pension tax liabilities. Once identified, such liabilities can be managed or even reduced, and the risk exposure to pension assets reduced, since taking risks may not be adequately rewarded. The €2m maximum fund that is so often mentioned is not as clear cut as it seems, see below.

Maximum Pension Fund- Standard Fund Threshold (SFT)


Anything over SFT Taxed @


Maximum Tax-Free Lump Sum


Lump Sum Tax (next €300,000) @


*Important to note that any Lump Sum Tax can be offset against Excess Tax. Therefore, a fund of €2,150,000 can be built up. 


ARF and Investment Portfolio Management

FJ Hanly & Associates manages many ARF portfolios for clients who have transitioned from pre- to post-retirement, as well as many investment portfolios. As a result, the company is always up to date with the latest trends and insights in Wealth Management. The firm has access to hundreds of specialized funds and multi-asset portfolios and they can provide insights into the fund managers are performing well and those that are not.


Who We have helped

In 2016, One of our Dublin based Executives reached retirement age at 65 and having been offered a transfer value by the Scheme Trustees,  drawn his maximum lump sum, invested the balance of his Defined Benefit scheme in an ARF. The ARF Investment amounted to €712,000 and at the time we recommended a Medium to High Risk Multi Asset fund with one of our best performing fund managers. Our client completed a Risk Profiler at the time and it was carefully established that he was a medium to high risk investor. On our Investment Risk scale of 1-7, one being low risk he was a 5.

Each year in August we meet our client in Dublin to review his ARF portfolio fund performance and discuss income requirements and any changes in circumstanced. It is also important to make sure he continues to be comfortable with the level of Investment risk he initially chose. 

As long as the client doesn’t want a change and as long as the chosen fund managers are performing relative to their peers we try to recommend clients stay invested through good times and bad. However, we do have a few tricks up our sleeve to help maximise Investment returns for clients.

At our client’s last review in September,  having investing €712,000 in 2016  our Retired Executive’s ARF portfolio is now valued at €933,400. He has also taken a total income in the intervening six years of €217,000. This is an annual return of circa 10% p.a. over 6 years. Not bad for a mainstream medium risk investment portfolio comprising of Equities, Commodities, Bonds and Cash… Not bad considering this performance followed a difficult 2022 for investment markets and not bad for an investment that requires little input and work from the Investor. 


Contact FJ Hanly & Associates Today

FJ Hanly & Associates are a financial advisory firm that has built a proud reputation over time by providing top-notch financial and pension advice to executives in the aircraft leasing industry. The company’s focus is on helping executives transfer their pension benefits from ex-employer schemes into private ownership and managing them under the guidance of professional impartial financial advisors.

FJ Hanly & Associates is a specialized team with over 30 years of experience in the field of financial and pension advice. The company prides itself on its service levels, accessibility, and technical knowledge. With this wealth of experience, the team has developed a deep understanding of the intricacies of financial and pension advice, which enables them to provide their clients with top-quality advice.

If you are an executive, with concerns about pension benefits and financial planning, consider contacting FJ Hanly & Associates. The company does not charge for an initial Zoom meeting and is always ready to provide prompt and reliable advice. With their wealth of experience, accessibility, and technical knowledge, FJ Hanly & Associates may just be the valuable Wealth Manager/ Pension Resource that you are looking for.

Fund values can fall as well as rise and past performance is not necessarily a reliable guide to future performance. Values can also be affected by currency exchange rates. These risks apply when investing in most Unit Linked Funds and you could lose some or all of your money when investing in these funds or portfolios.

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