Author: Ciara Oakwood

Alternatives To Deposits

We have seen a rise in the number of requests for money market funds as the yields on these types of funds have increased. This yield increase can be largely attributed to the ECB deposit rate going from 0% in July 2022 to 3.5% in early June 2023.

In response to this, we have sourced the JPMorgan Standard Monet Market Variable Net Interest Asset Value Funds through the Davy Select Platform. 

There are 3 fund options Euro, GBP, and USD which can be dealt daily. The yields (one day current yield as of 3rd October 2023) are:

  • Euro: 3.82% gross – More info on the fund can be found here.
  • GBP: 5.33% gross  – More info on the fund can be found here.
  • USD: 5.66% gross – More info on the fund can be found here.
JPM EUR Standard Money Market (acc.) JPM GBP Standard Money Market (acc.) JPM USD Standard Money Market (acc.)
Currency EUR GBP USD
Ongoing charges * 1%** 1.01% 1.01%
Credit quality AA AA AA

Please note that the funds are only available to Republic of Ireland resident clients.

What is a Money Market Fund:             

J.P. Morgan’s Money Market funds seek to achieve a return in excess of Euro money markets whilst aiming to preserve capital, consistent with prevailing money market rates, and maintain a high degree of liquidity:

  • Money market funds invest in short-term debt from governments, banks, and companies with strong balance sheets, high credit ratings along with other
  • They offer diversification of investments, liquidity and relative stability of
Recent months have seen a significant flow out of deposits and into money market funds globally, which you can read more about here.

Product Details

These Funds seek to achieve a return in the Reference Currency in excess of the applicable [Euro/GBP/USD] money markets whilst aiming to preserve capital, consistent with prevailing money market rates, and maintain a high degree of liquidity.

  • Daily dealing which allows for no fixed term
  • Withdrawals from this product are The product is dealt daily, and as a result there are no penalties incurred for redemptions.
  • Minimum opening balance €100,000

Reasons you might consider Money Market Funds:

  • Yields on money market funds have increased in line with Euro short-term rates and therefore offer a more attractive rate of return than cash deposits.
  • A Money Market Fund can be coupled with an Equity / Multi Asset Portfolio to help diversify or offer growth potential.
  • Also available to corporate clients with significant company funds on

Risks of Investing in Money Market Funds:

  • Interest rate risk
    • In adverse market conditions, the Fund(s) may invest in zero or negative yielding securities which will have an impact on the return of the
    • The value of Debt Securities may change significantly depending on economic and interest rate conditions as well as the credit worthiness of the issuer.
    • Issuers of Debt Securities may fail to meet payment obligations, or the credit rating of Debt Securities may be downgraded.
  •   Credit risk
    •  The credit worthiness of unrated Debt Securities is not measured by reference to an independent credit rating agency.
  •   Exchange rate risk (for USD or GBP)
    • If investing in a foreign currency movements in exchange rates can adversely affect the return of your investment.

Taxation Treatment

The taxation treatment which typically applies is known as ‘Exit Tax’ or ‘Gross Roll Up’. Gains under on the JP Morgan Money Market Fund are taxed (at a rate of 41%) when realised or on each 8th anniversary.



Please note the following:

  • Investment assets such as equities, bonds, property, cash, currencies, commodities, interest rates, etc and derivatives of these and other investments can be volatile high-risk investments that can significantly fall as well as rise in value.
  • The value of an investment is not secure and an investment may be worth less than the original values invested.
  • Investment gains and losses are determined by a range of factors, including currency rate movements. Past performance is not a reliable guide to future performance.
  • In extreme circumstances, an investment provider (e.g. a country, a bank, an insurance company, other financial institutions, etc) may not be in a position to meet their obligations to investors, and in such extreme circumstance, investors may lose some or all of their original capital and/or returns on capital secure investments.
  • The payment of any benefit from an investment with a third-party provider is subject to the provider’s ability to make such payments.
  • Tax changes and other changes in law and in practice may adversely affect the benefits payable from an investment


Past performance is no guide to future performance, they are not a reliable guide to the future performance of your fund.
The funds outlined are not guaranteed. 
If you invest in these funds you may lose some or all of the money you invest.
The value of your investment may go down as well as up.


The opinions expressed in this report are based on our best-efforts assessment of financial markets, products, and product providers. Opinions in relation to performance, volatility and correlation have been formed on the basis of data provided by third parties.

The portfolio rationale is framed in the context of investments, pensions and other medium/long-term investment instruments.


Practical steps for GP’s impacted by the pension limit

Practical steps for GP’s impacted by the pension limit

This article addresses the challenges faced by General Practitioners (GPs) who have exceeded the current pension limit, leading to significant tax liabilities. It also outlines the practical steps GPs can take to mitigate the impact.


The main points from the article are outlined below. Please click on the article link for more detail.

1. Context and Background:

    • Many GPs have been regularly contributing to their pension allowances, either through private pensions or Additional Voluntary Contribution (AVC) payments, and their GMS Pension payments. The increasing number of GMS allowances that are now pensionable has significantly bolstered the funds in their GMS pension.
    • Many GPs are now working past the age of 65, with the maximum retirement age set at 72 on the GMS. Consequently, these factors have caused a surge of GPs to surpass the existing pension limit, facing tax liabilities as a result.

2. Challenges:

    • Unlike hospital consultants, GPs cannot request an enhanced pension limit or spread their tax liability over a 20-year span. If they surpass the €2 million Standard Fund Threshold limit, they must pay the Chargeable Excess Tax (CET) at retirement.
    • A CET of 40% is applied to pension assets exceeding the €2 million threshold. When drawn as income, these assets can be subjected to further taxation, leading to a combined effective rate of up to 71%.

3. Potential Solutions:

    • Offsetting CET: GPs can use the tax on their lump sum (from the allowable 25% lump sum route) against the CET. This approach effectively lets one fund up to €2,150,000 without paying CET.
    • AVC Funding: If the pension limit is likely to be exceeded, stopping further AVC payments is recommended.
    • Investment Strategy Review: If pension assets surpass the SFT, it’s crucial to balance risk vs reward since high taxation rates apply to any growth, while market downturns could lead to potential losses.
    • Tax Bill Reduction Strategies:
      • Utilize the tax-free lump sum of up to €200,000.
      • Retire benefits in phases, drawing from the private pension initially.
      • Split private pension pots for a phased drawdown.
      • Consider early retirement to stay below the €2 million threshold.

4. Minimizing Risks:

    • Review current funding and project pension values.
    • Assemble this information, ideally with the assistance of a trusted financial advisor familiar with the GMS scheme.
    • A suitable financial plan is paramount.

5. Delaying Pension Benefits Drawdown:

    • It’s possible to delay drawing down pension benefits until age 75 (Max age on GMS scheme is 72). However, if benefits remain unmatured at that age, CET is automatically applied. Exceptions can include cases of severe ill health, where benefits on death aren’t subject to CET.

6. The Importance of Expert Advice:

    • Every individual’s retirement situation will vary. While free advice might seem enticing, it’s not always accurate or beneficial. A handful of financial advisors possess the technical know-how to guide on GMS pension benefits. Thus, getting expert advice is essential.

Summary: The landscape of pensions for GPs has grown increasingly complex, especially with many approaching or exceeding the pension limit. This situation brings about substantial tax implications, necessitating careful planning and expert guidance. While there are various strategies to navigate these challenges, from offsetting CET to delaying pension drawdowns, the underpinning message is the importance of informed, expert advice in making these crucial financial decisions.


Personal Retirement Bond

A Pension Retirement Bond, also known as a “Buy Out Bond” or “Retirement Bond,” is specifically designed for individuals who are leaving employment or transitioning to a new job. This type of bond provides the benefit of transferring a pension fund from an employer scheme into a policy in your own name, giving you control over your retirement savings.

The Pension Retirement Bond is particularly attractive for those who are unable to transfer their retirement benefits to their new employer’s pension scheme or are uncertain about their future employment status. By transferring your pension into a Retirement Bond, you can enjoy several advantages:

  1. Independence – Transfer your pension benefits out of a previous employer’s scheme and into a policy in your name and thus makes you independent of your former employer’s pension
  2. Investment Control – You have the freedom to decide how your funds are invested, giving you the opportunity to tailor your investment strategy according to your needs and preferences.
  3. Early Access – It gives you the option to access your benefits from age
  4. Transfer Flexibility – Funds can be transferred to new employer scheme at a later stage if
  5. Inheritance Benefits – On death the full value of your funds passes tax free to your next of kin.

It’s important to remember that when leaving a Company Pension Scheme, you typically need to choose from the following options:

  1. Leave your pension fund where it is (within your former employer’s scheme) and draw on benefits when you reach retirement age – typically age 65.
  2. Transfer your fund into a new employer’s fund subject to new employer’s
  3. Retire your benefits (if over age 50).
  4. Transfer your fund into a Buy Out Bond / Personal Retirement.
Under current revenue rules you can leave your fund invested up to age 70 with a Retirement Bond. This flexibility gives you control over managing your retirement benefits and the timing of withdrawing these benefits.

In summary, a Pension Retirement Bond provides a valuable opportunity for individuals leaving employment or transitioning between jobs. It offers control, flexibility, and potential tax benefits, allowing you to secure your retirement savings and manage them according to your preferences and circumstances.

For further information please contact us and we can discuss your individual requirements.

Buying National Insurance Credits for the UK State Penson

If you are aged between 45 and 70, you may be eligible to buy extra National Insurance (NI) years to boost your state pension. If you are eligible, the returns can be significant.

This is thanks to ‘transitional arrangements’ brought in when the new state pension system started in 2016. However, the clock is ticking on how long you have left to do this. Read our step-by-step guide to find out if you qualify and if it is worth it for you.

Why national insurance years are important

A new state pension system was brought in on 6 April 2016. The maximum amount is currently
£185.15 a week, but how much you’ll get depends on how many ‘qualifying’ national insurance (NI) years you have.

Many will likely need about 35 qualifying NI years, though for those who started their NI record before 2016 – almost everyone aged 45 to 70 now. However, for those between age 45 and 70, it is based on your age and NI record up to now – which could mean you need more than 40 NI years.
In order to plug any gaps, there are ‘transitional arrangements’ in place. These mean you can pay to plug gaps in your NI record back to 2006. This arrangement ends on 5 April 2023, after which you can only fill gaps going back six tax years.

Step 1: Check how much of the full state pension you’re on target to get

  • If you’re not yet at state pension age you will need to check your entitlement on:

If you’re not predicted to get the full amount of £185.15 a week, you need to check for gaps in your NI record. There will be a link in your forecast to do so

  • If you’re already at state pension age, you need to check your National Insurance record on :

That will show you any national insurance years since 2006 that are ‘incomplete’. If you have gaps that you’re unlikely to fill by any other means, it could be worth paying to plug these to get a higher state pension.

Step 2: Work out if you should pay to boost your state pension

Until 5 April 2023, you can buy national insurance (NI) years to fill gaps going back to 2006. When these transitional arrangements end, the number of extra years you can purchase drops down to the last six tax years, so checking now is key.

  • Those at or near state pension age will find it relatively easy to see if topping up may If your state pension is, or is forecast to be, less than £185.15 a week, and you won’t be able to plug gaps by any other means, topping up could be a no-brainer.
  • If you’re younger, it’s more of a toss-up as you may still fill the gaps by other means. The checks above show how many years you already have, and how many are left. If a shortfall is likely and you’ve NI gaps for 2006 to 2016, you need to decide by the deadline of 5 April 2023 whether to top up.

Though the younger you are, the more time you have to earn the max years through work or NI credits. That’s why this guide is roughly for over-45s, or maybe over-50s, as under that there are so many years left until state pension age, it would be taking a real risk to buy now unless you’re sure you won’t make them up later (for example, as you live overseas).


If you were ‘contracted out’ of the additional state pension before 2016, topping up may not help. Much here depends on your NI record from that period and it’s difficult to generalise and say who should and shouldn’t top up. As it’s so complex, it’s doubly important to call the Department for Work and Pensions helplines in step 5 to understand if paying to plug any NI record gaps will actually result in you being paid more state pension.

You’re more likely to have been contracted out if you worked in the public sector. You can check by looking at a pre-2016 payslip or P60 – if the NI contributions line has D, E, L, N or O next to it, you were contracted out.

Step 3: See what topping up could be worth

There are several points to consider:

  1. Buying a full national insurance (NI) year costs £824, unless:
  1. How long are you likely to live?

The potential gains to be made from buying voluntary NI contributions are huge. But one of the factors it depends on is if you’ll live long enough to gain. Consider your health to see if you’re likely to benefit.

  1. To ensure you’re not wasting money – For most people, the breakeven point will likely be six years due to higher tax rates (it is important to note the cost of buying back years is paid from personal funds however the state pension will be taxed.

Step 4: Don’t pay until you’ve called the Government’s pension helplines

There are many complexities, so the only way to know for sure if this is likely to benefit you is to get personalised information from the Future Pension Centre or the Pension Service.

Both services provide specific information about your current national insurance record. They’ll tell you whether doing so will actually result in any increase to your (eventual) state pension. It is possible to pay to plug a gap and see no gain, which is why this step is so important.

If you’re not yet at state pension age, you will need to contact the Future Pension Centre on +44 (0)191 218 360.

If you’re not predicted to get the full amount of £185.15 a week, you need to check for gaps in your NI record. There will be a link in your forecast to do so.

If you’re already at state pension age or if you’ve deferred your state pension or you need to contact the Pension Service. You can find the details for contacting them on pension-service

Step 5: A few buts… not everyone will be better off if they buy more NI years

The Future Pension Centre or the Pension Service can tell you if paying for extra national insurance (NI) years will increase your state pension entitlement. But you need to think about the bigger picture, as a larger state pension may have a detrimental effect on other parts of your financial life, and the Government’s pension services can’t help you with that. Think about:

  • If you’re likely to have a low income and will only rely on state pension, pension credit may cover the gap. Pension credit is a top-up for people of state pension age who don’t have a certain basic level of income. That can include topping you up to roughly the equivalent of what you get in the full state pension. So if you have no other savings or assets and are likely to be only relying on your state pension or a little more, there is a risk that by paying to top up now, you could have got the same with pension credit.
  • It should be noted though, especially if you’re trying to future-proof the years ahead, there’s no guarantee that pension credit will still exist, be at the same level or have the same eligibility criteria. So if you’ll benefit from topping up now by paying for NI years (and can afford to), that is a more certain outcome.
  • The gains from buying extra years may be reduced if it pushes you into a higher tax If you were to be near the threshold of either paying tax or hitting the 40% tax bracket once your state pension and other income is combined, you will pay (more) tax on your pension income if that income increases.

This will mean it takes longer for you to break-even on any voluntary NI contributions you make – though it’s likely to still be worth doing, even with this.

How to buy missing NI years

If the Future Pension Centre or the Pension Service has said buying additional national insurance (NI) years would result in extra income and you’ve made the decision to top up, you now need to decide how many NI years to buy.

Do note you don’t need to buy all the NI years you want in one go – you could buy some now and some later in the year if that suits your cash flow better.

  • To find out how much topping up would cost and to get your 18-digit reference number, you’ll need to contact HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) on + 44 191 203 7010
  • The reference number will ensure the payment’s added to the correct NI record. HMRC can give it to you over the phone (by post it takes about 15 working days). Once you have it, you can pay through your bank or building society, online or in branch, to the HMRC bank You can also pay by cheque, though HMRC says this takes longer to process.
  • If you’re not yet claiming state pension, the payment can take up to 60 working days to process, after which you should see your NI record change to acknowledge the voluntary contributions you’ve made.
  • If you’re already claiming state pension, HMRC will notify the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) that you’ve done so, and prompt DWP to carry out a benefit review, so your payments won’t increase straightaway. However, the DWP will backdate the increase to the date you made the payment (NOT to the date you started claiming state pension).

Pension Limits – A major cause for concern for Hospital Doctors

Pension limits have become a major concern for hospital doctors, primarily due to recent changes in salary and tax implications. The final FEMPI salary cut reversal, resulting from a 2018 High Court win, has had unintended consequences. It has inadvertently caused higher tax liabilities for doctors upon drawing down their pensions due to the 2014 reduction in pension limits.

The attached article from the Irish Medical Times Pension-Limits-A-major-concern-for-Hospital-Doctors was published in 2021. The article highlights the concerns of HSE hospital consultants regarding pension limits and their entitlements. It also provides information on recent developments and options available to mitigate tax liability.

Here are some key points from the article:

• The 2018 High Court win resulted in the reinstatement of pre-2010 and 2013 salary cuts for Health Service Executive (HSE) hospital doctors. However, the knock-on effect of this was the potential for a significant tax bill at retirement due to the 2014 reduction in pension limits.

• An Ombudsman ruling against a large Dublin city hospital is a significant win for those with a tax liability. The hospital tried to force the consultant to repay the tax on her pension benefits over a 10-year period. The Ombudsman upheld the complaint against the hospital and, in a legally binding ruling, determined that the consultant can write-off her tax liability over a 20-year period.

• Revenue has advised that those individuals who have been issued with a Personal Fund Threshold (PFT) Certificate in January 2014 may be eligible to reapply for a revised PFT at a higher limit.

• Avoiding Double Taxation: Proper advice and retirement planning are crucial for doctors to prevent double taxation.

Hospital doctors face complex pension challenges due to recent legal and regulatory changes. While potential tax liabilities have risen, multiple strategies can help mitigate these burdens. Expert advice tailored to HSE pension intricacies is paramount for doctors to navigate their retirement planning effectively.

Your ARF in Estate Planning

At retirement, you may opt to establish an Approved Retirement Fund (ARF) with your pension fund rather than purchasing an annuity. One of the main advantages of the ARF is that you retain the capital value at retirement and any balance remaining on your death can be passed to your Estate. How it is eventually distributed is something that you should consider and include in your Will.

Your ARF is a personal asset. Unless it is specifically disposed of by Will, it is included in the residue of your Estate and is succeeded to by residuary beneficiaries.

Once the funds are distributed, by your decision, as the ARF holder, in your Will or by the Qualifying Fund Manager (QFM)/Trustee, the tax treatment set out below will apply. The QFM for the ARF is responsible for deducting income tax under Section 784A TCA 1997. The beneficiaries are responsible for paying any CAT due directly to Revenue.

Death of ARF Holder

Who inherits the ARF Income Tax Capital Acquisitions Tax (CAT)
Spouse’s ARF No – Subsequent withdrawals subject to PAYE No – Spouse / Civil partner exemption
Child under the age 21 No Yes – Taxable Inheritance
Child over age 21 (at date of death) Yes – Subject to 30% tax regardless of fund size N/A
Others (Including spouse or civil partner directly) Yes – Income of deceased in year of death. Qualified Fund Manager (QFM) deducts higher rate tax under PAYE Yes – Taxable Inheritance (spouse exemption applies to legal spouse)

As outlined in the table, the tax treatment of the value of the ARF will be different depending on the age of the child receiving it. A child over age 21 will be subject to tax at 30%, regardless of the size of the fund. This may present some planning opportunities for individuals with larger Estates.

To ensure your Will correctly reflects your wishes, we recommend that upon next reviewing it with your solicitor, your ARF policy be clearly and separately identified – leaving it, or a stated percentage or share of its value on your death, by means of specific legacy to one or more named beneficiaries.