Is the Bank the Right Place for your Pension?

15 September 2022

As Ireland emerged from the 2007/2008 global recession, we lost several financial institutions. Some decided that providing services to Irish clients was not sufficiently profitable and some were simply swallowed up by larger competitors.

This left Irish borrowers and savers with very limited options, and we continue to learn that some of the largest remaining banks are unwilling or unable to support Irish clients in the same manner going forward. Both Ulster Bank and KBC Bank are completely exiting the Irish financial services market and the remaining pillar banks continue a process of significant branch closures, attempting to put forward an argument that their branch closures will streamline their business model and somehow clients will benefit.

Perhaps clients with mortgages and personal loans may not want to consider alternative options, but what about those with pensions, investments, or savings? My experience is that when it comes to such important and often complicated products, clients benefit from a personal service, regular contact and most importantly impartial advice.

For example, although banks arrange pension contracts, these institutions do not specialise in pension planning or have access to a range of pension providers to ensure you get the most competitive terms or the most suitable contract. Therefore, you may not necessarily get the very best advice when you start your plan or receive the ongoing guidance and advice you need through the years.

Pension planning is one of the most important financial decisions you will have made, so it is vital to ensure that you are provided with a quality service by someone with the necessary skills and experience to do so. Remember that your pension will be a major financial support for you and your family in your retirement and later life. However, in order to get the best from your pension in later life, it is vital you achieve the most suitable contract when arranging the policy and benefit from constant reviews, ideally with an expert that can provide impartial advice and with your interests being the most important consideration.

So, is the bank still the right place for your pension or investment? Below are some questions which might help you decide.

  1. When was the last time your bank contacted you to review your investment strategy or attitude to risk?
  2. Did the bank explain the investment risk attached to your contract?
  3. When arranging your plan, did you understand all of the charges involved e.g. allocation rate and annual management charge?
  4. Did your bank explain your contract or the possible alternative options available to you?
  5. Has your bank outlined your options on retirement, or when you can access your pension benefits?
  6. Did the bank consider any existing contracts you have, or just focus on the new sale?

If you have a pension or an investment or savings policy with the bank, why not have this reviewed by a financial broker? There is usually no cost and definitely no obligation to make changes if you are not entirely happy with the advice or recommendation given. By ensuring you have the most suitable contract, charging structure and investment strategy now, the long-term benefits can be so worthwhile.

Rob Downes, QFA RPA is a Qualified Financial Advisor and Retirement Planning Advisor.You can contact him through John F. Loughrey Financial Services by telephone on 074-9124002 or by email on

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