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International Pension Plan Survey 2017

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February 03, 2018

2017 results of the annual survey of international pension plans (IPPs) and international savings plans (ISPs), as their market continues to grow and develop

This report summarises the results of the 2017 International Pension Plan Survey; an annual survey of international pension plans (IPPs) and international savings plans (ISPs) conducted by Willis Towers Watson. The survey examines specific plan design features and membership or eligibility criteria. This year's survey covers 870 plans sponsored by 818 companies. 

The IPP/ISP market continues to grow and develop, with 43 plans set up in 2017 alone. This demonstrates the continuing trend for IPPs/ISPs to be set up by global companies with internationally mobile employees and local employees that require pension provision where local arrangements are inadequate or absent.

Key findings from the survey are:

  • IPPs/ISPs are offered by companies in over 20 business sectors, with high prevalence in Banking and Finance, Oil and Gas, and Industrials.
  • Assets under Management for the funded plans that responded in our survey are estimated to be up to US$13 billion.
  • 58% have been established with a 'retirement objective' (IPPs), with 42% having a more shorter-term 'savings objective' (ISPs). The trend of an increasing interest and shift towards the ISP savings-based approach continues.
  • 15% of the IPPs or ISPs in our survey reported to an Investment Governance Committee; this low prevalence may be related to the small membership size of many plans. This will be assessed in more detail in future surveys.
  • The majority (62%) of plans have a global coverage, with the rest restricted to different regions.
  • IPPs/ISPs can provide a valuable vehicle that can safeguard employees’ savings in a vehicle that protects these savings from any local economic or political turbulence.
IPPs/ISPs offered to local employees in countries suffering economic or political challenges
Argentina Egypt Turkey Venezuela Ukraine Iraq Russia Syria Angola Total*
12 7 6 6 5 3 3 1 1 23

*May cover more than one country, hence total number in these countries is not the sum of IPP/ISP in the table

  • Trusts continue to be the most popular arrangement used to hold the contributions and assets of IPPs/ISPS, with 77% of new plans set up in 2017 being Trust-based.
  • Pensionable salary is most commonly defined as ‘base salary only’ (73% of plans) followed by ‘base plus bonus’ at 12%.
  • Providers are expanding their technology capabilities to enhance members’ experience through decision-making tools and mobile apps.

This year's survey includes a case study of one of our Oil and Gas clients in the Middle East. The case study shows that saving for retirement is a key priority for Employees in the Middle East, with the majority of surveyed employees stating that their employer’s supported IPP will be their primary source of income at retirement, and therefore Employers have a key role to play in this. If set up and managed appropriately, IPPs and ISPs can be highly valued by employees and act as a powerful attraction and retention tool for Employers. 

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International Pension Plan - 2017 PDF 2.3 MB
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