Mercer Master Trust: defined contribution pension solution Ireland

The award-winning Mercer Master Trust helps you minimize the time, cost and effort needed to deliver a high-quality, IORP II-compliant defined contribution occupational pension solution.

What are master trusts and why are they growing in popularity?

The introduction of IORP II and other complex regulations has increased the demands on trustees and employer sponsors of traditional trust-based occupational pension schemes.

As a result, many defined contribution (DC) schemes are now exploring master trusts as an alternative approach, while most new plans are being established under a master trust. A master trust is a multi-employer DC pension scheme governed by a single professional trustee board. The Mercer Master Trust essentially combines our DC solution, Mercer Aspire, with professional trusteeship.

Master trusts provide all of the advantages of a traditional trust-based scheme but with less time, cost and effort needed to meet IORP II and other challenging regulatory obligations. 

Are master trusts appropriate for all occupational pension schemes?

Whether you are a large, small or medium-sized scheme, moving to a master trust can reduce the burden of trusteeship and the weight of increasing regulation due to IORP II.

For employers with an existing DC plan, there is growing recognition of the benefits of the master trust model in terms of cost and risk reduction, quicker adoption of best practices and the efficient management of deferred members, particularly in light of IORP II.

Master trusts may also be of interest to any employer starting an occupational DC pension scheme for the first time. 

With the planned introduction of an auto-enrolment retirement savings system in 2024, many employers are weighing up the merits of setting up their own scheme for the first time under a master trust. 

What to look for when choosing a master trust occupational pension scheme

Not all master trusts are the same. In choosing the best master trust for your scheme, it is important to consider and evaluate a number of factors:

The size and strength of the master trust provider will impact the potential for economies of scale that drive cost savings.

The reputation and commitment of the master trust provider will inform your expectations for service quality and continuity.

The quality of the underlying investment solution will impact the performance of the members' retirement savings funds over the long term.

The approach to member communications will determine the level of engagement and participation from employees and members.

The qualifications and experience of the professional trustee board will indicate how well the trust operates and is administered.

Confirmation of IORP II compliance is an essential element of any master trust.

Why choose the Mercer Master Trust?

As one of the longest-established (since 2006) corporate master trusts in Ireland, the Mercer Master Trust combines:
  • Our superior Mercer Aspire DC integrated investment solution
  • Decades of administration expertise and experience
  • Our proven outcomes-driven member engagement programme
  • IORP II-compliant governance
  • Access to an experienced and independent trustee board
  • An award winning DC and master trust solution

By integrating our superior investment, administration, communications and IORP II governance capabilities, the Mercer Master Trust helps deliver a high-quality, value-for-money occupational pension solution that minimises the associated time, costs and risks for sponsoring employers.

With the Mercer Master Trust, you can be assured that your scheme adheres to best practice while quickly adapting to and evolving with regulatory, investment, technology and economic changes. 

Mercer’s size, experience and expertise, coupled with our world-class investment, administration, governance and communications capabilities, uniquely position the Mercer Master Trust to deliver the most compelling master trust experience in the Irish market. 

Market-leading1 investment performance, secure and member-focused administration and empowering communications are seamlessly integrated using a unique governance approach that leverages Mercer’s experience in master trusts from Ireland and across the globe.

Mercer is passionate about, and strongly committed to, master trusts. We will continue to be one of the key innovators in this field not just in Ireland but also across the globe.

We believe that the Mercer Master Trust is the most compelling master trust in the Irish market.
Caitriona MacGuinness

DC and Private Wealth Leader for Mercer Ireland

Key features and benefits of the Mercer Master Trust 

Our unrivalled investment capability and Mercer Aspire investment solution allow our master trust clients the freedom to choose the best, most cost-efficient investment options without being tied to a single investment manager, delivering unrivalled performance and strong member outcomes at retirement.

Mercer’s dedicated communications team recognises that each member is unique. The breadth of communications available ensures a mix of multimedia approaches to support members, drive action and improve outcomes, whatever the member’s preferred approach. We provide one-to-one advice at retirement for all members. This, coupled with supplementary communications and seminars as retirement approaches, ensures that members are supported when they need it most.

The Trustee Directors of the Mercer Master Trust are Brian Buggy of Paramount Pension Trustees Limited and Dave Cooney of Irish Pensions Trust Limited.  Brian has over 30 years’ experience in pensions law and Dave has over 30 years’ experience in the pensions industry. Both Trustee Directors are holders of the Qualified Pension Trustee certification.

Both members and employers benefit from enhanced communication, investment, administration and governance services at very favourable fees. Mercer’s scale means members have access to best-in-class funds run by highly rated global independent managers. Competitive fees have a significant positive impact on members’ retirement outcomes.

View our short video to learn more about the Mercer Master Trust and its many benefits 

Talk to us today to find out more about our award winning DC and master trust solutions

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1based on 10-year performance to June 2022


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Mercer (Ireland) Limited, trading as Mercer, is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.

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A copy of our Mercer Master Trust brochure

A copy of our Mercer Master Trust 'Code of Practice' framework