I recently talked with a Human Resources professional about providing mobile employee pension benefits for their overseas workers.
It went a little like this. Caller – “Hi, I’m enquiring about an International Pension Plan for our non-UK employees. I suspect we’ll have a nice chat; then you’ll tell me it’s impossible!” Me – “I’m sure we’ll have a nice chat. However, I can tell you there are solutions out there”.
Whilst it’s true that finding appropriate mobile employee pension arrangements for workers on international assignments can be akin to searching a haystack for a needle, the combination of product development and technology means this particular conundrum can be solved.
For local staff, companies can offer tried and tested home-based pension systems. The UK, for example, offers multiple options, including Group Personal Pension and Auto-enrolment plans.
Mobile employee pension benefits packages
Mobile employee pension benefits packages are a valuable way of finding and retaining the right people for your organisation.
International employees often work in countries where no viable pension system is available or those that aren’t open to non-indigenous residents. Even if the international employee qualifies for the pension scheme, it often isn’t appropriate as these plans are designed for people living, working and retiring in that particular country.
International workers are often aware of the problem and rightly demand equivalence with their home-based colleagues. However, this can create an HR headache as, although they might agree, finding a solution isn’t easy.
The only option is to provide plans sourced from the global market. So, what would an International Group Pension Plan look like?
Contributions can be matched to those available at HQ. Employers can set the scheme rules to reflect those offered locally. In many cases, an International Group Pension Plan can also offer increased flexibility as they aren’t governed by rules which limit contribution levels or minimum retirement dates.
Multiple payroll systems can be accommodated in different currencies. For example, those with no connection to the UK other than the company they work for may prefer their pension benefits to be denominated in US$ or Euros to eliminate any currency risk with Sterling.
Similarly, a wide range of investment options can be made available, from default retirement date targeted funds to self-select portfolio construction. Everyone is different, and some want their pension savings invested without having to make decisions themselves. Others are more active and want to choose from a range of secure international investment funds. All can be accommodated.
We live in a highly technological world, and international employees often only have contact with their employer via email, online meeting systems and phone apps. Therefore, explaining everything to staff is important when implementing a mobile employee pension scheme.
Before the pandemic, video conference services were available but tended to be limited in scope. Now, we can communicate with people worldwide simultaneously, and a face can be attached to a name. Moreover, after implementation, all administration can be undertaken online. Employees can now view their accounts in real-time, take advantage of financial planning tools and access a huge library of information relevant to their situation.
Members can access pension forecasting software which helps them assess their current and future pension position at any time. It has never been more important to plan for retirement, particularly for international workers who may not qualify for State benefits. The general population is getting older as we become more healthy and wealthy, but we must ensure our retirement fund outlives us!
In summary, finding the right mobile employee pension plan for your organisation is a specialist task. The way to circumvent the search for the needle in the haystack is to talk to some who knows where it can be found.
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