IRELAND - Assets held by the new Personal Retirement Savings Accounts in Ireland have risen to more than €544m as at the end of the second quarter.

"The data shows that 78,043 PRSAs have now been taken out, comprising 59,887 Standard PRSAs and 18,156 non-Standard PRSAs, with a total asset value of €544.76m," the Pensions Board said.

At end of June, 78,590 employers had signed up with a PRSA provider under the employer mandatory access requirements.  And 31,154 employees had taken out PRSAs through their employer.

In May the regulator disclosed that just over 73,000 PRSAs had been taken out with a total value of €522m.

A PRSA is a contract between an individual and an authorised PRSA provider in the form of an investment account that can be used to save for retirement. It is a personal pension plan where the contributions paid are tax deductible and the investment return is tax exempted.

All employers were required on 15th September 2003 to enter into a contract with a PRSA provider so that access to at least one Standard PRSA is available for all "excluded employees" on and from that date.