Interest rates have never been lower. In fact, rather than paying out interest on deposits, in certain circumstances banks have started charging for holding their customers money. Add in the impact of inflation, albeit very low at present, and clearly money held in traditional deposit accounts is falling in value in real terms.

In Ireland negative interest rates hit the headlines last year with Bank of Ireland announcing it was charging pension funds for holding their cash. Other banks have followed suit, announcing similar charges for large corporate and business deposits, and there are rumours that large personal deposits are next in line. Credit unions are charged for lodging their own customer funds with the banks, and that could explain why many have of them now started putting upper limits (max €30,000) on individual deposits from their members (please check with your local Credit Union on their maximum deposit limit).

From the banks perspective they are simply passing on their costs – the European Central Bank overnight deposit facility rate is currently -0.5% – so it is costing them to park their excess funds. And as it looks highly unlikely that these rates are going to change any time soon, deposit accounts will therefore continue to provide little or no return on hard earned savings.

So, what are the alternatives to deposit accounts? With interest rates likely to remain low for several years it has never been more important to make yourself aware of the options available to you. Investment funds and saving plans from the major life assurance companies are real alternatives for small and largescale savers alike. They are also an option for corporate and business deposits. (

These products invest in funds which include shares (equities) in various markets, government bonds, property etc. to generate a return. The funds vary in terms of how they are managed, their aims and their risk profile. Selecting the right product and fund to meet your needs is critical and requires independent financial advice.

At MLMG Financial Brokers we have over 50 years combined experience of giving investment advice to our clients. If you would like further information or to discuss the options available to you then please contact a member of our team today on 0749324120 or email