University of Limerick

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1 March 2011 University of Limerick Member Guide to Additional Voluntary Contributions

2 University of Limerick Contents 1. Introduction 1 2. General Information 2 3. Contributions 4 4. Investment Considerations The Cash Fund The Capital Protection Fund The Active Managed Fund 7 4. The Diversified Balanced Fund The Exempt Consensus Fund The Indexed 50%/ 50% Equity Fund The Default Option-Individual Investment Service Fund Switching Benefits at Retirement.12 Ways To Improve Benefits.12 Summary of AVC Options at Retirement What Are The Charges Under The Plan?...15 Mercer i

3 1 Introduction This booklet is intended as a brief guide to the payment of Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVC s) by members of the University of Limerick Pension Plan. This booklet has been designed to give answers to the questions that many employees ask about AVC s, and to explain the choice of funds available. While we believe that all the information is clear and accurate, this booklet is for guidance only and is not intended to supersede the legal documentation that governs the Plan. As AVC s are a long term and important financial commitment, you are advised to read this booklet carefully and seek further information from Mercer, or any other independent financial adviser before coming to any decisions. 1

4 2 General Information Main Features of Paying AVC s AVC s offer the following benefits: An efficient long term savings vehicle Full tax relief on contributions, subject to maximum limits permitted by the Revenue Commissioners. Tax free investment growth in a choice of funds. Flexibility in how to use accumulated funds to provide additional benefits: Increased retirement pension Increased tax free lump sum at retirement (subject to revenue maximum of 1.5 times final salary and to a lifetime limit of 200,000) Invest in an Approved Retirement Fund or Approved Minimum Retirement Fund What are Additional Voluntary Contributions? Additional Voluntary Contributions (or AVC s as they are known) are simply extra pension contributions that an employee may make on a voluntary basis to increase his or her retirement benefits. The contributions, once made, are held in trust by the Trustees and can only be used by them for the benefit of the member, in accordance with the Rules of the plan. Why Make AVC s There are three main reasons why you should consider making AVC s: To improve your own and your families financial security in retirement. To reduce your income tax payments. To avail of a potential investment opportunity. How Do AVC s Work? Any AVC s that you pay are accumulated separately in your name and can be used to supplement your existing University of Limerick retirement benefits. 2

5 Who Should Make AVC s? All members of the UL Pension Plan have an option to make AVC s. You should join the plan if you want improved early retirement benefits, a higher tax free cash sum, a higher member s pension or a higher spouses / children s pensions. These benefits are subject to limits as set out under legislation. What Information Will I Receive As An AVC Contributor? Each year you will receive a statement showing the amount you have contributed during the preceding twelve months and the value of your AVC fund. Members can also access fund values on the Irish Life website Are There Any Disadvantages? AVC s represent a long term financial commitment designed to increase your retirement benefits. Therefore they cannot be cashed before retirement, except in limited circumstances. You cannot use AVC s as collateral for a loan. We would recommend before making any decisions on AVC's that you contact your Human Resources department to obtain all relevant information on using the Notional Service Purchase Scheme (NSP's) as an alternative to AVC's. Stand-Alone AVC PRSA s As a member of an occupational pension scheme, you are now entitled to effect a stand-alone PRSA AVC. This will be set up independently from the University of Limerick AVC plan and would be suitable for employees who, for whatever reason, want to keep their arrangement outside of their employer-sponsored pension arrangements. For further information please contact Mercer or any Financial Adviser. Set out below are the main differences between a Group AVC and a Stand-Alone PRSA AVC. Group AVC Plan Stand-Alone PRSA AVC Establishment Set up under trust Individual plan Fund Manager Limited to one provider Choice of provider Payment of contributions By salary deduction* Annual or monthly by direct debit Annual fund management Between 0.65%-1.0% 1.0% charges Advice Specific quotation system Staff presentations Individual consultations Own advisor * Under the group arrangement tax relief will be granted at source. 3

6 3 Contributions How Do I Pay My Contributions? Your contributions are deducted from your salary at source. Contributions are paid monthly. You may also pay a once off lump sum in a particular year. How Much Can I Contribute? The sum of your normal contributions to the University of Limerick Pension Plan and AVC s cannot exceed the following limits. Age Under Maximum % of Gross 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% Earnings allowable for tax relief (up to 115,000 NRE*) * Net relevant earnings How Should I Decide What To Contribute? In determining the level of AVC s you might make, you should start by considering how much you can afford to invest out of your net income and then gross this up by your marginal rate of tax. For an accurate quotation on the premium required to fund for shortfall in pension and gratuity you should contact Mercer, Limerick. Will My Contributions Qualify For Tax Relief? Your contributions will qualify for full tax relief at your marginal rate of tax subject to the Revenue limits outlined in the table above. How Do I Get This Relief? If contributions are deducted from salary before tax is levied, tax relief is automatic. You can receive tax relief on AVCs made in respect of the previous tax year, provided they are paid before 31 st October of the following year. For lump sum payments, you will have to bring the payment of your AVC to the attention of your local tax office to claim tax relief. 4

7 4 Investment Considerations Where Will My AVC s Be Invested? You have a choice of investment funds in which your AVC s may be invested. While the Trustees have taken great care in the selection of the investment manager, it must be remembered that they cannot accept responsibility for any loss which may be incurred as a result of poor performance of the funds. The Investment Manager chosen is Irish Life Investment Managers. You will have a choice of the following funds: 1. The Cash Fund 2. The Capital Protection Fund 3. The Active Managed Fund 4. The Diversified Balanced Fund 5. The Consensus Fund 6. The Indexed 50/50 Equity Fund 7. Default Fund-Individual Investment Service 5 5

8 1. The Cash Fund The Cash fund invests 100% in cash and short term deposits and aims to give investors a stable and predictable return. Suitability (Low Risk Fund) This fund is designed for members who are close to retirement. Its aim is to protect the value of their fund against market movements. It is particularly useful for that element of the fund that will be taken as a tax free lump sum. Performance to 31st January 2011 (net of management charge) 1 Year 3 Year 5 Year % % p.a. % p.a. Cash Fund 1.7% Average Cash Fund (3 Month Interbank Deposit) 0.9% Annual management charge is 0.75%. 2. The Capital Protection Fund This fund aims to give members the benefits of equity participation while at the same time guaranteeing that the value of their fund won t fall. It adopts a cautious approach to investment with roughly two-thirds invested in cash and gilts and one-third invested in equities. There is a guarantee that the value of units will not fall. A declared minimum rate of 0.4% net of fund management charge for Suitability (Low Risk Fund) This fund is suitable for members who approaching their retirement and want to protect their fund from market volatility. Performance to 31 st January 2011 (net of management charge) 1 Year 3 Year 5 Year % % p.a. % p.a. The Capital Protection Fund

9 Exit Conditions-Market Value Adjustment Where clients switch their assets out of the Capital Protection Fund, Irish Life may apply a Market Value Adjustment, thereby reducing the amount available. This reduction does not apply to transfers to other arrangements which occur within nine months of leaving employment or on retirement or death. Currently the Market Value Adjustment is 0%, thereby reducing the amount payable by this. Charges Annual management charge is 1.0%. 3. The Exempt Active Managed Fund The objective of the Exempt Active Managed Fund is to achieve above average performance through active asset allocation and stock selection. The fund is geared towards members who have a number of years to retirement. It has a strong bias towards equities as historically equities have provided the greatest real rate of return in the long term. Based on the view of the market/economies, a decision is taken firstly of how much to invest in equities, bonds, property and cash. Then a view is taken as to which countries the fund should invest in. The next decision is which stocks (company shares) to hold within each country portfolio. The stock selection process is a highly disciplined systemic approach combined with in-depth company analysis and visits. Suitability (Medium / High Risk Fund) This fund may be suitable for members who strive for above average managed fund returns on a consistent basis and are prepared for the volatility that can be associated with actively managed funds. Performance to 31 st January 2011 (net of management charge) 1 Year 3 Year 5 Year % % p.a. % p.a. Exempt Active Managed Fund Average Managed Fund Annual Management charge is 0.75% 4. The Diversified Balanced Fund. The Diversified Balanced Fund aims to achieve managed fund returns with reduced levels of volatility. The fund combines a traditional equity fund with bonds and the following alternative funds: the Indexed Emerging Markets Equity Fund, Indexed High Yielding Fund, Forestry Fund, Commodity Fund and Property Funds (Europe and Ireland) 7

10 Suitability (Medium Risk Fund) This fund is suitable for people who wish to have exposure to equity markets while limiting volatility. Performance to 31 st January 2011 (net of management charge) 1 Year 3 Year 5 Year % % p.a. % p.a. Diversified Balanced Fund N/a Average Managed Fund Annual management charge is 1.12% 5. The Consensus Fund The objective of this fund is to eliminate manager selection risk, which is the risk of being invested with an investment manager who under performs. The idea is simply to perform in line with the average pension managed fund by mirroring the average pension fund s asset allocation. Having implemented the average asset allocation, the Consensus Fund then pursues index tracking stock selection. If, for example, the average allocation in UK equities is 11%, the Consensus Fund would replicate this weighting regardless of Irish Life s view on the UK equity market. Within this UK portfolio they would track the FT All Share Index e.g. if Glaxo shares represented 4% of the index the fund would hold 4% of the UK portfolio in this stock. The fund is designed to achieve second quartile managed fund returns on a consistent basis. Suitability (Medium / High Risk Fund) This fund may be suitable for members who want long term managed fund growth on a consistent basis, without manager selection risk. As the fund replicates the investment selection of the Irish fund management industry, returns and volatility will always be similar to the market average but this fund won t be as volatile as a pure equity fund. Performance to 31 St January 2011 (net of management charge) 1 Year 3 Year 5 Year % % p.a. % p.a. Consensus Fund Average Managed Fund Annual Management charge is 0.65%. 8

11 6. The Indexed 50/50 Equity Fund The objective of the Indexed 50/50 Equity Fund is to eliminate manager selection risk, which is the risk of being with an investment manager who underperforms. The assets of this fund are fully invested in equities. The allocation in this fund is split into about 50% Eurozone assets and about 50% assets from the rest of the world. The stock selection within each market is index stock selection, meaning Irish Life will replicate the weighting that each stock represents within the relevant market index. Suitability (High Risk Fund) This fund is suitable for members with a number of years to retirement who want to pursue an aggressive investment strategy. Performance to 31 ST January 2011 (net of management charge) 1 Year 3 Year 5 Year % % p.a. % p.a. Indexed 50/50 Equity Fund 30.1 N/a N/a FTSE World (Large Cap) Annual Management charge is 0.65%. 7. The Default Fund Individual Investment Service 5 Members of AVC plans are subject to certain risks when approaching retirement. Investment performance may be poor thereby reducing the fund value, and ultimately, the member s lump sum/pension. With this in mind Irish Life introduced the Individual Investment Service 5. This aims to protect the members while minimising any investment growth sacrificed in the years when funds are at their largest. It also aims to protect members who retire early. As a member enters the 5 year period prior to retirement, the investment gains of earlier years are secured by gradually switching into the Capital Protection Fund. 9

12 The following diagrams show how this switching mechanism works. In order to avail of this service, members should choose the ILIM Consensus Individual Investment Service 5 (IIS5) option. If this option is selected, it should be noted that 100% of assets must be invested in this manner. 10

13 5 Fund Switching Members can make 6 free fund switches each year. Subsequent switches will be charged at 0.5% of the fund with a minimum charge of 12 Euro and a maximum charge of 30 Euro. Fund information is available on the Irish life website: Members would be encouraged to seek advice before proceeding with a fund switch. Fund prices cannot be guaranteed during the fund switch process, as the price of units cannot be determined until the day the units are encashed. Mercer do not accept /process fund switch requests. To process a fund switch, members must a complete an application / fund switch form. This form must be returned to: Corporate Business, Irish Life, Lower Abbey Street, Dublin 1. Members can also scan the completed form and Irish Life directly at; Please ensure that your member reference number is on all correspondence sent to Irish life otherwise a delay in the switching of funds can arise. Please note that a fund switch request may take up to five working days to process. Confirmation of the fund switch will be sent to the member by Irish Life. 11

14 6 Benefits at Retirement What Will Happen When I Retire? When you retire the accumulated value of your AVC fund will be available to increase your benefits up to the revenue maximum. In What Ways Might I Be Able To Improve My Benefits? The following are some of the more common circumstances in which your AVC fund may be used to: Offset short service Receive revenue maximum tax free lump sum Increase early retirement benefits Increase dependants pension Provide an additional taxable lump sum at retirement Provide a tax-efficient investment during your retirement (an Approved Retirement Fund) Ways To Improve Benefits Short Service At age 65 (normal retirement date) you will be entitled to a pension based on service and salary. The maximum service is 40 years. If you joined the University at an age which does not enable you to reach this maximum, you could purchase extra pension with your AVC fund to bridge this gap. Maximum Gratuity You can fund for the maximum gratuity if you have short service. You can build an AVC fund and take it tax free subject to the revenue maximum (1.5 times final salary subject to a lifetime limit of 200,000). Early Retirement You may wish to retire early, in such circumstances the calculation of your benefits will be based on completed years of service. An AVC fund is an ideal way of enhancing early retirement benefits. 12

15 Dependants Pension As well as increasing your pension, your AVC fund could help increase your dependants pension up to the maximum revenue limits. Taxable Lump Sum If, when you retire, your total pension income (pension from the University and the state pension) is at least 18,000 per annum, you can withdraw your AVC s in cash. This sum is subject Income tax at your marginal rate, the Universal Social Charge and PRSI if applicable. Approved Retirement Fund You may wish to continue investing your AVC s after you retire. You can take advantage of a tax efficient investment opportunity during retirement by transferring your AVC s to a special type of investment called an Approved Retirement Fund (ARF). ARFs are offered by a number of qualifying fund managers. The choice of investments can range from bank accounts to unit linked funds. You may invest part or all of your AVC fund in an ARF so long as your total pension income (pension from the University of Limerick Plan and the state pension) is at least 18,000 per annum. You can withdraw money from your ARF whenever you wish, however withdrawals are subject to Income tax at your marginal rate, Universal Social Charge and PRSI if applicable. If your total pension income is less than 18,000 per annum and you wish to transfer your AVC s to an ARF, you must set aside 120,000 in a special ARF called an Approved Minimum Retirement Fund (AMRF). An Approved Minimum Retirement Fund is similar to an Approved Retirement Fund. The difference is that you can only withdraw the accumulated investment growth before age 75. You cannot draw down any of the original capital invested in this fund before age 75 unless it is to purchase an Annuity. An Approved Minimum Retirement Fund becomes an Approved Retirement Fund at age 75 or earlier if you subsequently are in receipt of pension income in excess of 18,000 p.a. The Finance Bill 2006 (amended 2011) has imposed a 5% pa imputed distribution on all ARFs. Note that if an actual withdrawal has already been taken from the fund in that year this will be taken into account against the deemed withdrawal: thus, somebody taking a gross income of 6% per annum from each of their ARF holdings every year will not be affected by this measure. 13

16 Summary of AVC Options at Retirement The following is a graphical summary of your AVC options at retirement: Want to keep some or all of your AVC fund invested after retirement? No Use AVC fund to provide extra retirement benefits within Revenue limits. Yes Pension income greater than 18,000 p.a.? Yes Approved Retirement Fund (ARF): Grows tax-free. Cash withdrawals can be made at any time, subject to Tax, USC and PRSI if applicable No AVC fund greater than 120,000? Yes Excess over 120,000 No First 120,000 Approved Minimum Retirement Fund (AMRF): Grows tax-free. No withdrawals of original capital allowed before age 75, unless used to purchase an annuity or if you subsequently achieve pension income in excess of 18,000 p.a. then AMRF become an ARF. After age 75, the fund automatically becomes an ARF. Please note that all references to your AVC fund above relate to the value of your fund after any election to take part of the fund as a tax-free lump sum at retirement. 14

17 7 What Are The Charges Under The Plan? In addition to the Annual Fund Management charges outlined above the following charges apply: Allocation Rate % Bid / Offer 5% Mercer Commission (Regular Contributions) 5% Net Allocation 95% The net allocation is the percentage of your AVC premiums directly invested after the deduction of the bid offer spread and commission, i.e. for every 100 invested into regular premium AVCs- 95 is actually used to purchase units. There is also a Policy Fee of 1.83 per month charged by Irish Life. This is indexed linked each year. The commission charge on single premium contributions is 1.5% which gives a net allocation of 98.5% of premiums invested before AMC and policy fee. 15

18 Mercer (Ireland) Limited Crescent House Upper Hartstonge Street Limerick

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