Acorn Life Pension Fees

Paudie Foley

Registered User
Messages
1
Hi

I just wanted to let people know about my experience with Acorn Life.
Our company recently introduced a pension scheme for its staff through Acorn Life.

The Acorn representative spoke with all staff in a group, it was a very poor presentation to say the least. There was no presentation just a talk about how good it would be.

We were all asked to contribute a minimum amount and to fill out an application form.

I did ask what the fees were but the reply I got was very limited and it raised my suspicions.

I received my pension offer the same day by email.

HERE is the health warning:

Fees amount to €12.83 per month, plus 50% of your monthly contribution goes towards set up costs plus an annual charge.

On the basic contribution in year one €1440, fees would amount to €990.

On a forecast over the full term fees would equate to 18%.

Since I reviewed my proposal I have researched several websites and blogs and I am alarmed at how this company can operate.

Please be aware of how this company behaves. Ex employees are also expressing their concerns.
 

Brendan Burgess

Founder
Messages
37,956
How on earth did you employer choose Acorn Life?

Their extraordinary charges are well known.


I think that they are the only life company which now has the old initial units system which used to be common in Ireland.

Brendan
 

elacsaplau

Frequent Poster
Messages
589
Brendan,

For sure, the employer should not have appointed Acorn.

The thing that strikes me the most, however, is the passivity of the Central Bank in allowing such, clearly unsuitable, products to be sold. These nonsense products presumably comply with CB requirements? Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
 

elacsaplau

Frequent Poster
Messages
589
Brendan,

With respect, that is absolute nonsense.

The CB should regulate the activities of the organisations it regulates. When an organisation clearly markets ridiculous products, it is the responsibility of the CB to monitor for appropriateness. The CB has mountains of compliance requirements and this is a classic example of how ineffective such requirements are.

Further, as you mentioned the pricing of products, those that do price these products should know better and in my opinion are behaving extremely poorly. Marketing up-front charging products for employer sponsored pension schemes is flat wrong.
 

Fergal19

Registered User
Messages
59
A policy with an insurance company is a contract. By signing the form you agree to the terms. Its not the Central Banks fault that you didn't read the terms. You should have a cooling off period to cancel the contact. Your employer I think also has to provide you a minimum standard PRSA. Maybe this might be a better option?

General rule of thumb I follow with financial services is; If the product and the person selling the product are from the same company your interests are not going to be at heart.

Kind of agree with you though that the CB is more interested in compliance technicalities that add no value to the customer rather than focusing on other practices.
 
Last edited:

Brendan Burgess

Founder
Messages
37,956
The Central Bank is not involved in the pricing of products.
With respect, that is absolute nonsense.
Hi elacs - with respect, I am just telling you what the law is. They are not involved in pricing.

On the mortgage issue, I have proposed to the Central Bank that they should outlaw cash backs as they are misleading and confusing customers and allowing the banks to avoid competing on price. But they have rejected it.

I am sure that that Acorn Life charges are fully disclosed and in compliance with the various codes.

Should the Consumer Protection Code be changed so that providers should not have complex charging structures? It's worth discussing. Many people get caught by the credit card interest free period. It would be great if some provider distinguished themselves from the rest by simplifying it.

Brendan
 

Brendan Burgess

Founder
Messages
37,956
OK, I had a look at their website to see what their charges are. They are not shown prominently anywhere. I could not find any information.

Eventually, I found this line at the bottom of a page

I don't know if it refers to all their costs or just to the costs on investments.

Click here for a summary of our Fees and Charges.

In any event, it gives the following
3737
 

elacsaplau

Frequent Poster
Messages
589
Brendan,

I did not say that the CB is responsible for pricing. Everyone knows this.

My point was clear and nicely captured by Fergal

….that the CB is more interested in compliance technicalities that add no value to the customer rather than focusing on other practices.
It's ok to disagree - it's silly to attempt to misrepresent. If you believe that the CB is being effective in its role as Regulator in allowing such products to be sold for employee pension schemes then we will have to agree to differ. That's the substantial point here.
 

SBarrett

Frequent Poster
Messages
3,099
...and the thing is, there is a lower level of disclosure required for company paid pension schemes. The Central Bank made the assumption that if you run your own business, you should know about charges or at least ask about them. It is total nonsense of course.

Acorn is a tied agent company, their sales teams are all commission based. To be honest, in the 20 years I've been working as an advisor, I have rarely come across them when working with clients. They would have a very small market share, especially in Dublin, maybe a bit more in Galway where they started off.


Steven
www.bluewaterfp.ie
 
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