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BoI set to charge negative interest on pension cash

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Bank of Ireland rates change

Bank of Ireland rates change

Bank of Ireland rates change

Bank of Ireland is to impose negative interest rates on cash held in pensions, in a move that will hit hard people saving for their retirement.

It is the first time negative rates will have been charged to consumers.

Pension experts said more banks were now set to charge for money deposited in pension funds.

Many pension fund holders have mandated their advisers to put their funds into cash as they are nervous.

They fear a recession is on the way that could wipe out investments, as happened with bank shares and property investment values during the last financial crisis more than a decade ago.

Huge

It comes as the Pensions Authority has been encouraging company pension schemes to invest more in bonds and cash, both of which are now giving a negative return.

Bank of Ireland told pension provider Independent Trustee Company (ITC) it will charge 0.65pc a year from September for cash held in pension funds.

Financial adviser Liam Ferguson said huge numbers of people would be impacted by the new charge, which is in addition to management fees imposed by fund administrators.

Mr Ferguson, of Ferguson and Associates in Carlow, said: "This is the first example that I've seen of an Irish bank charging people to hold their money.

"ITC are one of the biggest providers of self-administered pensions in Ireland."

ITC, which administers €1.2bn of client funds in 4,000 pension structures, told brokers the move would "have an adverse impact" on their clients.

Mr Ferguson said a lot of Irish people will be affected by the move to charge pension funds for holding cash.

Bank of Ireland said it recently wrote to 14 investment and pension trustee firms to inform them about the new negative interest rate.

It said European Central Bank interest rates have been negative since 2014.

"The average amount held on deposit by investment and pension trustee firms is in excess of €100m. Therefore it is no longer sustainable for the bank to continue with the current rate of interest" it added.