What is a pension scheme?

A pension scheme includes:

1. Occupational Pension Scheme

A pension scheme set up by an employer to provide retirement and/or other benefits for employees. This includes both public sector and private sector occupational pension schemes.

2. Personal Retirement Savings Account (PRSA)

PRSAs are pension savings accounts, normally paid for by personal contributions, although employers can pay contributions to these plans. PRSA arrangements provide a tax-free lump sum, within certain limits, and a pension or other benefits at retirement. A PRSA is an individual, defined contribution pension arrangement.

3. Trust Retirement Annuity Contract (Trust RAC)

Trust RACs are schemes:

  • established under trust and approved by Revenue;
  • which are for the benefit of individuals engaged in, or connected with, a particular occupation; and
  • which provide retirement annuities for them, or benefits for their dependants.

Examples of Trust RACs are those operated by the Institute of Chartered Accountants, the Bar Council of Ireland and the Law Society of Ireland.


If you think you have a pension product, but it doesn't fall under one of the above categories, it may be that you have a financial service product. For example, you may hold an investment which you have put in place for your pension, but it may not be a “pension scheme” within the meaning of the FSPO's governing legislation.

You can complain about the conduct of a pension provider involved in the administration of your pension scheme.

For example, we can investigate the conduct of a pension provider for the following:

  • miscalculating your pension benefits, under the rules of the scheme
  • failing to do something it should have, which caused you an actual loss of benefit under the scheme
  • not following the scheme rules or the law
  • without good reason, taking too long to do something, that causes you an actual loss of benefit under the scheme

A pension provider can be an organisation or an individual and includes:

  • Employers who offer occupational pension schemes.
  • Trustees of a scheme
  • Administrators of a scheme
  • Consultants, advisors, investment managers, custodians, paying agents, insurers or actuaries of a scheme
  • Government departments or state bodies running pension schemes for employees