On the 22nd June 2016,the Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, announced that individuals who have a Buy-out Bond/Personal Retirement Bond that originated from a Defined Benefit pension scheme will now be allowed to use their Buy-out Bonds to access the flexible option of an Approved Retirement Fund or ARF option. This option is available regardless of when the transfer to the Buy-out Bond took place.
Access to the ARF option for Buy-out Bonds/PRBs was generally dependent on whether the pension scheme from which the transfer value to the Bond originated was a Defined Benefit or a Defined Contribution scheme, with the option only available to those benefits originating from a Defined Contribution transfer.
ARFs are special investment funds which can give scheme members increased flexibility in terms of how they use their pension fund when taking retirement allowing them manage and control the pension fund into retirement. ARFs are also very tax efficient for succession purposes and an alternative option to purchasing an annuity.
A very welcome and important policy change!