Media Q&A:Choosing between a PRSA and a Personal Pension Plan


Published  22 March 2024
   2 min read

Consumer Question:

I’m a self-employed freelancer and I need to set up my own pension. What do I need to consider when deciding between a Personal Retirement Savings Account (PRSA) or personal pension plan?

Answer from Mark Reilly, Pension Proposition Lead at Royal London Ireland

The two main types of personal pensions are PRSAs and personal pension plans (also called retirement annuity contracts).

If you don’t already have a pension set up, a PRSA could be the more straightforward and easy-to-understand option – specifically, a Standard PRSA. When choosing a PRSA, you will need to decide between a Standard PRSA and a non-Standard PRSA.

With a Standard PRSA, your fees are capped so you can't be charged more than a 1%  annual fund management charge (the cost of your pension fund’s management). Also, the contribution charge (charged every time you make a contribution to your pension) cannot be higher than 5%. With personal pension plans and non-Standard PRSAs, the charges can be higher or lower than a Standard PRSA – however, you usually have a greater choice of investment funds to put your money into.

You can find a full register of PRSA products and providers on The Pension Authority’s website.

If you want to explore a personal pension plan rather than a PRSA, most life assurance companies offer personal pension plans with different charges and investment strategies that you’ll need to understand. If you are comparing plans, check how your contributions will be invested and what risk there is for that type of investment.

Pensions are a complex area, so don't be afraid to seek financial advice before choosing a pension product. Bear in mind too that you will usually need to go through a Financial Broker when opening a PRSA or personal pension plan as it is often not possible to do so with a life assurance company directly.




This question was submitted to and first published by The Irish Independent


About Royal London Ireland

Royal London Ireland has a history of protecting its policyholders and their families in Ireland, and recently launched a new Pensions business in Ireland. Our business heritage in Ireland is nearly 200 years. The Caledonian Insurance Company's first office outside Edinburgh opened on Dame Street, Dublin 2 in 1824.

Today, Royal London Ireland is owned by The Royal London Mutual Insurance Society Limited – the largest mutual life insurance, pensions, and investment company in the UK, and in the top 25 mutuals globally, with assets under management of €178 billion, 8.6 million policies in force, and 4,100 employees. Figures quoted are as at 30 June 2023.

Royal London Ireland’s office is based at 47-49 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2.