The pension deficit at Ireland’s largest companies has grown by 40% –  according to an article in The Irish Times on Friday 8th December 2017 which overviews a new report by Lane Clarke and Peacock Actuarial Consultants.

The study of 26 private and public sector companies with final salary pension schemes suggests the financial hole in the pension funds of Irelands largest companies jumped almost 40% last year, with the financial deficit increasing from (€2.6 billion in 2015 to €3.6 billion at the end of last year).

The companies with the worst deficits in cash terms were Diageo (€1.1 billion), C.I.E (€730 million) and Bank of Ireland (€446 million).

LCP said that the overall figures would have been much worse but for “some notable liability management exercises undertaken by individual companies”. In non-actuarial speak, that means a reduction in benefits for members.

The report notes that Bord Na Mona cut benefits while Kerry group closed its Irish Pension Schemes and carried out in a Transfer Value Exercise. Transfer values have increased substantially in most defined benefit pension schemes and increasing numbers of ex-employees with deferred pension benefits are using the new opportunity introduced in 2016 by the government which enables ex-employees who have attained age 50 to cash in 25% of their pension fund as a tax free lump sum (Max 200k tax free).

Here at we have seen a substantial increase in the number of ex-employees transferring their pensions into their own name. Motivated by the freedom of pension options now available, our clients take personal ownership of their funds for different reasons.

The main reasons our clients give for wanting to transfer are:

  • Large transfer value available
  • Access to greater tax free cash
  • To take benefits earlier then DB scheme allows
  • Flexible income in retirement
  • Underfunded pension schemes
  • Inheritance considerations
  • Possible scheme windup

If you are an ex-employee of a company with a defined benefit pension scheme and you are interested in discussing your early retirement options, get in touch.
Find out if you are eligible to cash in your pension and take action before it is too late.