Royal London Ireland has become the first life assurance company provider to enter the Irish pensions market in more than 30 years and the first new pension provider in over a decade.
Following a multi-million Euro investment, the rapidly growing life and pensions provider has announced its development of new pension propositions that will be offered exclusively through Financial Brokers. The launch is good news for pension savers as it will add to consumer choice, increase competition, and drive product improvements in the overall market, which in 2021, had €1.5bn of new business single premium sales in Personal Retirement Bonds (PRBs) and €2.3bn in Approved Retirement Funds (ARFs)*.
Speaking of the launch, Noel Freeley, CEO of Royal London Ireland commented,
“Following several years of behind-the-scenes work, intense consultation with Financial Brokers and a multi-million capital investment, we have been able to create a compelling pension proposition that will deliver value for money and competitive pricing for customers, combined with access to two leading asset managers Royal London Asset Management (RLAM) and BlackRock*. Underpinned by strong customer service, our pension products will provide positive competition in terms of innovation, pricing and transparency, with no fixed or monetary policy fees or fund switching charges.
“This expansion represents the next stage of development in our ongoing growth in Ireland. We’re in a position where we’re market leader in broker protection products and where we have increased our broker protection estimated market share from 22.5% to 30.2% since 2020*, so we have a strong distribution platform to build from.
“The competition in Ireland’s pensions market has been largely unchanged for some time. New entrants are rare, primarily due to the level of investment required to deliver a high value product and the expertise demanded to build a robust service support platform."
Royal London Ireland will initially launch a Personal Retirement Bond (PRB) and an Approved Retirement Fund (ARF) (See Appendix). These products will offer a range of unique product features including zero policy fees or fund switching charges, automatic portfolio rebalancing, and ValueShare. ValueShare is an additional payment boost that may be added to customers fund returns in years that the company does well. Once paid, it belongs to the customer and can never be taken away.
In the UK, Royal London is the largest mutual life and pensions provider looking after over 21,000 workplace pension schemes with more than 1.6 million members. It has assets under management, managed by Royal London Asset Management (RLAM), of €174 billion**, including funds managed on behalf of third parties.
Mr. Freeley concluded by saying,
“Royal London Group is a major provider of pensions in the UK and I hope this expansion into the pension market in Ireland illustrates our ambition for Royal London Ireland, our long term and ongoing commitment to the broker market, and the opportunity to replicate our success in the UK pensions market.
“Benefiting from a mutual parent company, our pension products have been driven by our mutual mindset which aims to help customers build their financial resilience and invest in a responsible way that delivers a world worth retiring into. We believe that the impartial advice provided by a Financial Broker can make a huge difference.
“Service from providers has been a big challenge across the Irish pension sector over the last 12-18 months. Royal London Ireland is well positioned to address this service deficit utilising our breath of experience in the life insurance sector in providing award-winning service.”
Notes to the Editor:
About Royal London Ireland:
Royal London Ireland has a history of protecting our policyholders and their families for over 190 years in Ireland, and we’re committed to continue to do so for a long time to come. Our businesses heritage in Ireland is nearly 200 years. The Caledonian Insurance Company's first office opened on Dame Street, Dublin 2 in 1824.
Today we are owned by The Royal London Mutual Insurance Society Limited – the largest mutual life insurance, pensions and investment company in the UK, with assets under management of €174 billion as at 30 June 2022, 8.8 million policies in force and 4,267 employees as at 31 December 2022.
Royal London Ireland’s office is based at 47-49 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2.
* Source: Market share is estimated based on Royal London Ireland analysis of market data as at end June 2022.
** Royal London Asset Management (RLAM) with €174 billion Assets Under Management (AUM). BlackRock with over $8.487 trillion AUM is the world’s largest asset manager. Figures quoted as at 30 June 2022.
ValueShare, a unique feature that we offer exclusively to Royal London Ireland pension customers, is an additional payment boost that may be added to customers fund returns in years that we do well. Once paid, it belongs to the customer and can never be taken away. But it’s really important to be aware that ValueShare is not guaranteed to be paid at the same level every year. Some years the boost to customers pensions savings could be higher or lower than the year before. Indeed there may be years where no ValueShare payment is paid at all.
Personal Retirement Bond (PRB)
A Personal Retirement Bond (PRB), also known as a Buy‑Out‑Bond, is an individual pension bond established in your name. It’s a pension policy that receives a single contribution – typically a transfer payment from your current/previous pension scheme or another PRB.
You can transfer your pension benefits into a PRB if:
- You’re leaving your employment.
- You’re leaving your current pension scheme.
- Your company pension scheme is finishing up.
Your PRB then aims to provide a fund you can use to provide pension benefits at retirement.
Approved Retirement Fund (ARF)
Approved Retirement Funds (ARFs) are managed by Qualifying Fund Managers (QFMs) in which you can invest the proceeds of your pension fund when it matures. A QFM is a financial institution (such as Royal London Ireland) that is authorised to operate ARFs.
An ARF is a flexible arrangement that allows you to remain invested in funds after retirement and withdraw money as and when you want. Any investment growth within the fund is currently tax free, however, withdrawals are taxed.
An annuity is a regular secure income payment that is guaranteed for the rest of your life. If your pension fund will provide your only or main source of income after you retire, you may want to consider using some or all of it to buy an annuity to secure a regular income payment for the rest of your life.