Pension Fund Statistics

Balance sheet (assets and liabilities) data for pension funds resident in Ireland (ESA 2010 sector S129) consists of financial corporations that principally engage in financial intermediation as a consequence of pooling social risks and providing for income in retirement. In Ireland, a pension fund is an autonomous occupational pension scheme established under trust.

Key Points - Q4 2023

Publication Date: 19 March 2024

  • Total assets of the Irish pension fund (PF) sector increased by 9 per cent for Q4 2023 to stand at €138 billion (Chart 1), which constitutes one of the largest quarterly increases in assets since data collection began in 2019. This was driven by continued upwards trend in insurance technical reserves (ITRs) 1, which grew by 12.4 per cent (€8 billion) over the quarter.
  • Technical reserves relating to pension entitlements grew by 9.8 per cent in Q4 2023 (Chart 2). Defined contribution (DC) technical reserves increased by 10.5 per cent, as a result of growth in corresponding asset values, similarly defined benefit (DB) technical reserves2 ­grew by 9 per cent, as a result of estimated decreases in discount rates. Net worth remained steady at €9 billion.
  • Investment fund (IF) shares constitute the second largest asset holding of the Irish pension funds sector and increased 3.7 per cent in Q4 2023. In Q4 2023, DB PFs held 44 per cent (€34 billion) of total assets in IF shares, whereas DC PFs held 10 per cent (€6 billion). Since 2019, DC PFs have experienced a shift away from investment fund holdings with their share as a percentage of total assets falling by 13 percentage points. Conversely, IF share holdings for DB PFs have seen little change and remained steady ranging between 41 to 47 per cent of total assets (Chart 3).

Summary Charts

Chart 1: Assets of Irish pension funds

Assets of Irish pension funds

Chart 2: Liabilities of Irish pension funds

Liabilities of Irish pension funds

Chart 3: Investment fund holdings (by subsector)

Investment fund holdings (by subsector) 


[1] In the pension funds context insurance technical reserves (ITRs) are assets relating to claims on insurance corporations by pension funds (also known as pension fund reserves) while pension entitlement technical reserves are liabilities relating to claims on pension funds by households.

[2] Defined benefit technical reserves includes hybrid schemes. Technical reserves are valued on an accounting standard basis. Defined benefit technical reserves and net worth are reported on an annual basis (at year end), values for other quarters are estimated and subject to revision on receipt of latest annual data.

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