Nick Cooper, head of international proposition at Zurich Corporate Savings, explains how his firm is meeting cross-border pension requirements.
Q How important do you think it is for a firm to address companies’ cross border pension needs?
Companies’ cross border pension needs are being influenced by the ever increasing number of employees on international assignments, driven by the continuing trend towards globalisation.
When companies launch new ventures abroad, they tend to bring their own experts from other locations rather than relying on local talent, and as the number of mobile employees grows, employers are starting to rethink their benefits provision.
A world without borders
Internationally mobile employees need to have a benefits package that aligns to their patterns of work, for example it would be complex and most likely non-advantageous for a mobile employee to be in multiple local pension plans.
They may benefit initially from some local tax breaks but when they come to retire they potentially have a tax and currency headache.
To overcome these challenges many companies are establishing an international policy, to stay competitive, maintain geographical consistency and control costs. Even against a backdrop of economic uncertainly there is still competition for the best talent, and while the talent flow is predominantly West to East, companies are starting to tap into talent pools in emerging markets.
In the future, global mobility will continue to grow in volume and become the norm so it is important that companies have effective cross border solutions in place to meet the growing demand.
Q A number of the plan’s features impressed the judges. How important is it to get features right, particularly service, when it comes to international pensions?
The ability to offer a range of features that are flexible and valued by employers is important, but service is key at two levels – for the plan administrator and members. In both cases our secure online service system Zurich International Online (ZIO) is vital here.
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