Best Pension Fund Manager Ireland – Top Ranked

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Best Pension Fund Manager
Best Pension Fund Manager

When seeking to discover the best pension fund manager performance, make sure your source of information is fully transparent, unbiased, and displays its independent source.

Also, massively important is to factor in charges for a much truer comparison, and to personalise your eventual selection aligned to risk tolerance, time horizon, and ESG preferences.

Let’s take a moment to remind ourselves about risk and reward, before diving into fund performance comparisons. The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), introduced fund risk ratings to protect investors back in Jan 2011.  These ratings run from very low ESMA 1  to very high ESMA 7, but for the purposes of the tables below, we are displaying the most typical risk tolerance, amongst pension investors, ESMA 4 & ESMA 5, as defined below:

  • ESMA 4 – Medium risk investors: likely to accept significant risk in return for the potential of good investment gains over the long-term. Accept significant fluctuations in the investment value, particularly over the short-term, but want to limit the amount of money held in more risky investments.
  • ESMA 5 – Medium to high risk’ investor: likely to understand that the investment can go down and up sharply with the potential for greater returns over the long-term.


Best Pension Fund Manager – Pertinent Facts:

  • All funds carry an ESMA risk rating aligned with their volatility range.
  • Different funds carry different charging levels, so these must also be carefully reviewed.
  • Pre and post-retirement investments need different approaches in terms of risk management.


There is no single leading fund of fund manager, for every risk level and time horizon, and it goes without saying, that past performance is no guarantee of future performance.

However, consistent long-term performance does provide some indication over the same investment time horizon, provided that you’re comparing like-for-like funds and allowing for charges.

Charges are not uniform and just because a fund sits within the same ESMA rating, does not mean that its standard deviation (volatility) will mirror that of its competitors.

Best Pension Fund Manager Comparison – Golden Rules:

  1. The risk level must be the same when comparing funds.
  2. Time horizon is a key factor in any pension investment consideration.
  3. Charges are not uniform across different provider funds, so must be factored in.


Now that I’ve explained how dangerous it can be to rely on the first page to pop up under a Google search, without properly sourced unbiased information, for simplicity I have outlined the top 5 average annualised and cumulative returns for the leading medium risk (ESMA 4) and medium to high risk (ESMA 5) funds, currently available in Ireland.

However, remember these are gross returns before charges, and different charges applying to different funds may well change positionings, and that charges are fixed whilst past returns are indicative and not in any way guaranteed.

I  outlined active funds over 10 years, but have also detailed more recently launched funds over 5 years.

Active – Multi-asset Performance – 10-Year Medium Risk – (ESMA 4)

Fund Cumulative Average 
1st Irish Life – Diversified Balanced 100.77% 7.22 % PA
2nd New Ireland – ifunds 4 Alpha 87.31% 6.48% PA
3rd New Ireland: Evergreen 86.20% 6.40% PA
4th Zurich – Cautiously Managed 81.55% 6.15% PA
5th Aviva –  Multi-asset ESG Active  4 58.96% 4.75% PA


Active – Multi-asset Performance – 10 Year Med to High Risk – (ESMA 5)

Fund Cumulative Average 
1st Zurich – Balanced Fund 130.40% 8.70% PA
2nd New Ireland – iFunds 5 128.29% 8.60% PA
3rd Irish Life – Setanta Div Equity 121.75% 8.29% PA
4th Irish Life – Maps 5 108.20% 7.61% PA
5th New Irlend  – Davy Def High-Yield Equity 107.98% 7.60% PA


Active – Multi-asset Performance – 5 Year Medium Risk – (ESMA 4)

Fund Cumulative Average
1st New Ireland – GDI 4 50.65% 8.54% PA
2nd Zurich – Prisma 4 40.42% 7.02% PA
3rd New Ireland – iFunds 4 35.81% 6.21% PA
4th Irish Life – Diversified Balanced 33.65% 5.97% PA
5th Zurich – Cautiously Managed 29.66% 5.33% PA


Active – Multi-asset Performance – 5 Year Med to High Risk – (ESMA 5)

Fund Cumulative Average
1st New Ireland – Davy Defensive 49.52% 8.38% PA
2nd Zurich  – Balanced 48.96% 8.30% PA
3rd New Ireland – iFunds 5 43.17% 7.44% PA
4th Irish Life – Setanta Div Equity 40.74% 7.07% PA
5th New Ireland – Prime 5 38.93% 6.80% PA



  • Performance dates are taken on 01/05/2024.
  • Independent information source: Longboat Analytics
  • Always insist on fully transparent charges.


Key Takeaway

  1. The best value indicator is down to cost and performance combined.
  2. No single insurance firm or fund manager tops all tables and of the time.
  3. Rather than a single fund choice, a combination of fund managers, funds, and fund strategies can often be the best approach.
  4. Volatility must be considered as it influences human behaviour.


Discover more about our unbiased pension advisory investment philosophy.

Speak with a Financial Advisor

To arrange your free no-obligation consultation contact us today. Contact: Ken O’Gorman – Director – QFA, CB, SIA – Retirement Specialist – One Quote Financial Brokers on: 01 845 0049 or email:

Or enquire online and give us a quick outline of how we can help.

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