Executive Pension Plan Ireland

We help directors and key employees assess their pension options.


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As a director of a limited company, organising your pension may not be top of your list of priorities.

However, it is important you plan long-term and ensure you have the retirement you deserve.

It also a tax-efficient way for you to save for later in life.

Below we have gone through some of the questions you may have regarding a director’s pension scheme.

I already had an Executive Pension but I felt the charges were excessive. After having it reviewed I was correct and was able to make substantial savings on charges alone.

I also re-structured my plan and feel much more comfortable going forward. The team were very knowledgeable and I would have no issue recommending them.

Michael K | Executive Pension Plan | January 2022

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What is an Executive Pension Plan?

An Executive Pension Plan is a scheme designed to help company owners and company directors save for retirement.

These plans allow you to appropriately save for retirement in a tax-efficient manner.

As with other pension arrangements, members of the Executive Pension Plans can avail of all the tax incentives pension schemes have to offer.

Learn more in our Executive Pension Plan Guide.

How prepared are you for retirement?

A good rule of thumb of what to aim for at retirement is approximately 50% of your gross pre-retirement income. If you earn €70,000 per annum on the day you retire, €35,000 would be an appropriate number to aim for.

If we assume you will receive the full State Pension of €12,900 per annum, that would leave a shortfall of €22,100.

At what age can you access an Executive Pension Plan?

You will be eligible to access the benefits from your Executive Pension Plan from age 60. Although, in certain circumstances, you may be able to access benefits from age 50.

However, this will only be the case if you can no longer work due to illness if you retire.

Below we break down at what age you can access your benefits from different types of pension arrangements.

Pension Type  Age you can access benefits from
Executive Pension Plan 50

It is also worth noting that
specific occupations such as sports professionals may qualify for early retirement.

I approached Pension Support Line whilst researching information on setting up an Executive Pension. 

The team were very accommodating and arranged that I have a phone call to discuss some options. From here we decided I would set up an Executive Pension suited to my needs and overall financial situation. I would have no hesitancy in recommending anyone in a similar situation to get in contact.

Padraig | Executive Pension Plan Client

What advantages does an Executive Pension Plan have over other pension arrangements?

An Executive Pension Plan provides you with many benefits over other traditional pension arrangements. One of the main benefits is the ability to contribute a higher percentage of your income whilst receiving tax relief.

Below we have compared people with identical details. One has an Executive Pension Plan while the other has a Personal Retirement Savings Account (PRSA).

Age Retirement Age Pension Arrangement Percentage of salary allowable for contribution
42 65 PRSA 25%
42 65 Executive Pension Plan 76%

We can see from the table above that there is a significant difference in the level of contributions allowed. An individual of the same age and gender can contribute 51% more of their salary to an Executive Pension Plan whilst still receiving tax relief.

Male Retirement Age
Current Age 60 65
30 72% 54%
35 86% 63%
40 108% 76%
45 144% 95%
50 216% 126%
55 432% 189%


Female Retirement Age
Current Age 60 65
30 67% 49%
35 80% 58%
40 100% 69%
45 133% 86%
50 200% 115%
55 400% 173%

Example of contributions to an Executive Pension Plan

Pension contributions to an Executive Pension Plan will be eligible for tax relief. Below we look at some examples of how this tax relief is applied.

Name Monthly Contribution Tax Relief (40%) ‘Real’ Cost
Jean €950 €380 €570
Brian €1300 €520 €780
Catherine €2,500 €1,000 €1,500

It is worth noting that for the above example, all contributors are in the 40% income tax bracket.

How can Executive Pension Plan benefits be withdrawn?

Essentially will have two options:

Option 1

  • A once-off lump sum up to one and a half time’s final salary*&
  • The balance of the fund must then be used to purchase an annuity

Option 2

  • A once-off lump sum of up to 25% of the value of the fund &
  • The balance of the fund must be used to fund an AMRF and/or ARF

It is important to withdraw your benefits in the way that best suits your needs and circumstances. There may be various options available. Take time, consider all potential avenues, and choose what suits you best.

Frequently Asked Questions

How are contributions made to an Executive Pension Plan paid?

Members have the option to pay either regular or single contributions to the Executive Pension Plan. Contributions are taken at source and set up through the employer’s payroll system.

The employer liaises with your financial broker after the initial paperwork is complete and contributions are arranged from the agreed start date of the policy.

What happens if a member leaves employment?

If a member of an Executive Pension Plan decides to change employment, they have the option to transfer their pension plan. This means you can bring your Executive Pension Plan across to your new employment.

This flexibility is a huge plus and another incentive to use an Executive Pension Plan where possible. Should you run an Executive Pension Plan in your company, it also allows any new employees the opportunity to join.

Who owns the Executive Pension Plan?

An Executive Pension Plan is held in trust by the members of the scheme. Essentially, this means that neither the member nor the employer owns the scheme directly.

The Trustees of the scheme hold the legal responsibility to make sure the scheme is run correctly and that members receive benefits due.

In many cases, an employer will act as the trustee of the pension scheme. However, individuals may also act as Trustees.

In some cases, an Independent Trustee company may be appointed. Often these will be recommended by the life insurance company.

Are Small Self-Administered Pension Schemes different to Executive Pension Plans?

A Small Self-Administered Pension Scheme (SSAS) differs from an Executive Pension Plan.

Where a Small Self-Administered Scheme differs, is how and where the contributions are invested. With a Small Self-Administered Scheme, contributions are invested through a Pensioner Trustee company rather than through a life insurance company.

A major benefit of a Small Self-Administered Scheme over an Executive Pension is it may give you a wider choice of assets to invest in. If you feel you may be suitable for such a scheme, it may be worth consulting with an advisor.

Can the company receive corporation tax benefits from contributing to an Executive Pension Plan?

A company is eligible to receive corporation tax relief on Executive Pension Plan contributions within certain limits.

These contributions may be allowed as a deduction against profits from trading activities for Corporation Tax. In the case of a Sole Trader, you may be eligible to receive income tax relief.

An advantage of Executive Pension Plans is the ability it gives a company to make significant contributions to the plan.

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Types of Consultations Available?


A short 5-10 minute phone call is usually enough to assess your options.

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Video Call

Some clients prefer a more in-depth conversation via video call.

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In-Person Consultation

After an initial conversation, an in-person meeting is usually the next course of action.

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Not sure what you need?

Many of our clients were initially unsure of exactly what their options were. Feel free to reach out to our chat box or even pop us over an email with any questions and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Email: info@pensionsupportline

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