Unlock Your Pension Early

Transferring a workplace pension will enable you to unlock it.


Pension Support Line IconPension Support Line

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We offer a complimentary service that allows clients to look at all available options. You may be able to access your pension early or eligible for a transfer.

Many of our clients come to us looking for an overall pension assessment and from there can decide the best course of action for their situation.

2,000+ Clients
Access Company Pension at 50 (if eligible)
Complementary Consultation

We can help

If you have ever paid into a:-

Company Pension Scheme
Defined Benefit (DB) Pension Scheme
Defined Contribution (DC) Pension Scheme
Personal Pension Scheme

What we do

Assess Your Options
Transfer Your Pension (if eligible)
Access a 25% Tax-Free Lump Sum (if eligible) *up to €200,000


How to book an appointment:


Client Case Study

Defined Benefit Pension Scheme

Name | Colin

Age | 55

Colin worked for an Irish telecommunications company and was part of their Defined Benefit pension scheme for 24 years. He left employment 6 years ago and was looking to assess his options.

Following a consultation with an advisor, Colin decided to transfer his pension benefits into a policy in his own name. This enabled Colin to access 25% of his benefits free of tax.

He also wanted to ensure that should anything happen to him, his pension was inheritable to his spouse. Both Colin and his advisor weighed up his specific situation along with the scheme rules associated with his benefits and decided this was the best course of action.

Inheritability and the rules regarding a scheme should be looked at on an individual basis.

Client Case Study

Defined Contribution Pension Scheme

Name | Lorcan

Age | 50

Lorcan worked for an employer in Dublin for 17 years before the employer relocated to India. Lorcan knew himself and the employer contributed to a Defined Contribution pension scheme during his employment.

However, Lorcan was under the impression he could not access his benefits until age 65 although this was incorrect.  After speaking with our team, he was able to access 25% of his benefits tax-free and invest the remaining 75% through the AMRF/ARF option.

If your situation is similar to either of the above and you would like to assess your options, feel free to contact our team.

Paid into a pension?

We can help you access it.

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We help clients across Ireland assess their pension options.

Click to book an appointment

Due to a change in government legislation in 2016, most Occupational Pension Schemes can be accessed from age 50 with many eligible for a 25% tax-free lump sum.

Access your company pension

4 easy steps to accessing your pension

Step 1.  Contact our team.

Step 2.  An advisor will review your current pension arrangement.

Step 3.  If beneficial and the correct choice for your situation, you will be enabled to transfer to a Personal Retirement Bond (PRB).

Step 4.  Access and take control of your pension fund.


Due to a change in government legislation in 2016, most Occupational Pension Schemes can be accessed from age 50 with many eligible for a 25% tax-free lump sum.

4 easy steps to accessing your pension

Step 1.  Contact our team.

Step 2.  An advisor will review your current pension arrangement.

Step 3.  If beneficial and the correct choice for your situation, you will be enabled to transfer to a Personal Retirement Bond (PRB).

Step 4.  Access and take control of your pension fund.


There are currently an estimated 400,000 deferred members of pension schemes in Ireland.

A deferred member means you were part of an occupational pension scheme in a previous employment.

If you have a pension from a previous employment, you may be eligible to access a 25% tax-free lump sum (up to a lifetime limit of €200,000) as per Revenue rules.

Transferring your pension to a Buy-Out-Bond also known as a PRB will give you full control. From here you can access your fund and invest the rest to suit your attitude to risk.

If you would like to assess your options and find out more about taking control of your pension, please feel free to contact us.

We work alongside a team of advisors who are regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. Our advisors take a non-jargon approach and can help you assess all potential options.

Table of Contents

Ireland’s Unclaimed Pensions

It’s not always easy to keep track of a pension, especially if you’ve been in more than one scheme or have changed employer throughout your career. But, it’s important that you do claim your pension, so the sooner you trace a lost workplace pension, the better.

Many of our clients have worked for State, semi-State and privately-owned companies. If your pension is ‘Paid-Up’, meaning that neither you nor an employer is making contributions, it may be worth assessing your options. It is currently estimated that there are upwards of €500 million ‘lost’ or unclaimed pensions in Ireland. Do not let your money be part of this.

Have you a pension from previous employment?

The times we live in are ever-changing, particularly when it comes to careers and how often we change direction.

Recent surveys estimate workers now change career on average, between three and seven times during their lifetime.

Whether you have moved jobs, lost your job, or finally took the plunge and become self-employed, you are probably wondering what options are available to you regarding ‘that’ pension from your previous employment.

Well, the good news is you have different options available, although it will depend on the length of your employment along with what type of pension scheme.

Due to a change in Government legislation in 2016, most Occupational Pension Schemes can be accessed from age 50 with many eligible for a 25% tax-free lump sum.

We have taken the time to explain the different options available depending on the scheme.

Am I eligible to trace my workplace pension?

This can be a stressful time. Don’t worry, we understand. We provide a pension tracing service for all our clients. If you do in fact have a pension from previous employment, one of our advisors will then discuss your options.

We will initially need some basic information from you, along with any correspondence or information you may have with regard to the scheme. From here our team of advisors can contact the relevant scheme administrator. This is where we will begin to unlock your pension.

From what age can I access my pension?

Accessing your pension is dependent on age and the scheme type. Unless in ill-health it is not encouraged to try and access your fund before the relevant age thresholds.

Individual pension scheme accessibility is the following:

Occupational pension scheme – From age 50 onwards (subject to scheme rules)

PRSA – You must be at least 60 years of age. Or 50 if you are an employee who has left service.

Personal Pensions – You can access your personal pension from age 60 if you have ceased employment.

It is worth noting that some professions such as sportspeople have the option to access their pension early.

Do I have to retire after accessing my pension?

Just because you have reached a certain age does not mean you cannot work. Many of us prefer to keep busy.

Even if you have accessed your pension tax-free lump sum, it does not mean you must cease working.

Whether you would like to supplement your income or just keep yourself busy, working is still an option.

Do I have to retire at a specific age?

There is not a specific one-size-fits-all age that you must retire at. Your normal retirement age will be usually be outlined in your contract.

Often there are provisions within the contract that you could potentially retire earlier than the normal age. It is worth consulting a qualified advisor should you be considering such an option.

As the State pension has risen in recent years, some schemes are aligning their normal retirement age with this. Some professions may also have a statutory retirement age limit.

However, this will be outlined in your contract of employment.
Although it is worth noting this does not prevent you from seeking different employment upon retirement.

Self-employed and company directors may not have a specific retirement age unless this is outlined in the company’s articles of association. This will differ from company to company.

I am a former member of an Occupational Pension Scheme – Can I unlock my benefits?

Former members are known as deferred members. If you are a past member of a defined benefit pension scheme, it may be worth assessing your options.

As a deferred member, you have the option of leaving your pension where it is or transferring it to a policy in your name.

However, if you choose to leave your DB scheme where it currently is, you may leave yourself open to certain risks.

Many advisors consider the following risks of staying in a DB scheme as a deferred member:

  • The amount is a promise, not a guarantee. You may not receive the full amount promised in your pension fund.
  • Trustees of the scheme could potentially reduce the deferred pension scheme before you reach the retirement age.
  • The overall amount within the fund could dramatically reduce before you reach retirement age.
  • The scheme could fully be wound up before you reach retirement age.

Choosing to transfer into a policy in your name can have many benefits.

Irish pension legislation changes

Midway through 2016, the Irish government decided to change pension legislation. These changes enabled individuals with Buy-Out-Bonds or PRBs from occupational schemes more flexibility.

It gave them the ability to now purchase Approved Retirement Funds (ARFs) with the proceeds of their pension fund.

Before this ruling, DB members who have Buy-Out-Bonds from their previous DB schemes were obliged to purchase an annuity after taking their 25% tax-free lump sum.

However, annuity rates then (and now) are quite low. Whereas in previous years annuity rates were more than 15%, by the time of the legislation change they had plummeted to about 4%.

They are currently still hovering around this mark.

Therefore, if you are a deferred member of your company occupational scheme, you could be entitled to a 25% tax-free lump sum.

One of our advisors can talk you through the process step-by-step should anything still be unclear.

Transferring from a Defined Benefit pension scheme to a Personal Retirement Bond

Reasons to transfer your DB scheme to a PRB

It is always best to consult an expert before taking any action regarding your pension.

However, many advisors recently are highlighting the advantages of transferring to a PRB.

These include: –

Potentially access 25% tax-free cash from your fund
On death, your und will then transfer to your surviving spouse.
Many scheme allow you to access your benefits from age 50.
The option of an ARF allows for the preservation of funds on death.
You will be in control of your fund and invest it to align with your attitude to risk.
Currently, many schemes are offering enhanced transfer values.

This is where having an experienced Qualified Financial Advisor by your side is vital.

What is an ARF?

An ARF in an investment fund that allows you to invest your pension after you have taken your retirement lump sum.

ARFs are appealing as they give you control over how your fund is invested. It also gives you the options of a wide array of different fund options.

However, it is advisable to consult an expert before deciding to invest in your ARF. You can do a lot of research, but it is always a good idea to get the option of a professional.

There are rules surrounding withdrawals from your ARF. Most of these are regarding the minimum amount you must withdraw each year.

Infographic - Approved retirement funds explained | AMRF / ARF breakdown

What are the benefits of an ARF?

As with anything in life, there are pros and cons. This is particularly the case with financial products.

We spent some time researching some facts and figures by various accreted financial advisors. Here are some of the advantages of ARFs we found: –

Flexibility, you can have as much control of your investment as you would like.
You can decide when and at what rate you would like to withdraw from your ARF (minimum of 5% from age 61).
Growth within your ARF is tax-free, however, it is worth noting withdrawals from your ARF are taxable.
On death, the full value of your fund will pass to your spouse. If they die, your ARF crystalizes and passes to your estate (30% tax).
You have the option to purchase an annuity at a later date if you feel the rates may increase.

If you would like more information, check out our ARF Guide 2021 here.

How do I begin the process of accessing my pension early?

Consulting an expert is the only option. Luckily, we work alongside some of the best in this field.

Our team of advisors have experience with some of the biggest schemes in Ireland. Alternatively, access to your pension may not be the best option for your specific situation.

Therefore, it is also important that you have an advisor who has your best interests front of mind.

How much does it cost to access my pension early?

We offer a free, no-obligation chat. Again, everyone’s circumstances are different and there are no one-size-fits-all.

You should consult with your advisor and weigh up the situation. A holistic approach must be taken to financial planning.

What information do we need from you to unlock your pension?

Initially, the process is simple. As we have said, you are under no obligation to proceed but knowing your options can never be a bad thing.

A casual chat with a Qualified Financial Advisor will give clarity regarding your situation and potential options.

Your advisor will request you complete a form with some basic information. From here they can begin to see exactly what options may be available to you.

What information we may need from you:-

  • Full Name
  • Date of Birth
  • Current Address
  • PPS Number
  • Details of Employment (years worked/company name and address)
  • Any relevant correspondence in relation to the scheme

Of course, the information you provide our team with, the greater the chance of tracing your pension.

Book a consultation & Unlock your pension

Our team specialise in unlocking workplace pensions.

Call us on 01 890 3518 or fill out our quick enquiry form