IRELAND - Assets held in Personal Retirement Savings Accounts (PRSAs) increased to €1.25bn by the end of 2007, according to the latest figures from the Pensions Board.

Fourth quarter figures reveal the number of PRSA contracts sold also rose by almost 11,000 from 119,962 at the end of September to 130,709 by December 31, of which 100,229 are standard PRSA contracts.

In addition, the Pensions Board statistics showed 84,557 employers had signed up with a PRSA provider, and 45,243 employees have joined the scheme through their employer, which has increased total assets from €1.12bn in September to €1.25bn by the end of 2007. 

PRSA's are a personal pension plan but from September 15 2003 it has been mandatory for employers to offer at least one standard PRSA contract to all "excluded" workers - which includes those who do not have access to an occupational scheme, or who only have death in service benefits.

However, in October the Irish government unveiled its 'Green Paper on Pensions', which outlined various options for pension reform to combat increasing longevity.

Some of the options included in the Green Paper are mandatory and soft mandatory approaches to private pension provision, although the paper did not make any specific recommendations ahead of the consultation process, which is expected to end in the middle of 2008. (See earlier story: Options galore in Irish pensions green paper)

If you have any comments you would like to add to this or any other story, contact Nyree Stewart on + 44 (0)20 7261 4618 or email