International Pension Plan Survey Report 2015

February 11, 2016


  • Funded DC remains the most prevalent design basis, with DB plans still in operation but typically closed to new members and dwindling in numbers.
  • Contract-based plans represent an increasing share of IPP/ISPs, reaching 43% in 2015.
  • This year the IPP survey contains a feature article on how crisis countries can use an IPP or ISP as a pensions or savings solution.

This report summarises the results of the 2015 International Pension Plan survey; an annual survey conducted by Willis Towers Watson regarding international pension plan (IPP) and international savings plan (ISP) specific design elements and membership criteria. The survey covered 721 plans sponsored by 638 companies. The number of participants continues the increasing trend from previous years, showing that the survey continues to gain interest and that new plans are being created. Among survey respondents, 23 new plans were set up in 2015.

The survey questionnaire has remained broadly the same as in previous years for continuity and comparability purposes. Also similarly to previous editions of the survey, the sample comprises of large- and mid-sized multinational employers across a wide range of industry sectors, which employ expatriate and local workforces participating in IPPs/ISPs, ranging from less than 10 members to nearly 30,000. Our survey covers the basic information around IPP/ISP membership criteria (plan size and location), plan design (such as defined contribution (DC), defined benefit (DB) or hybrid), funding, waiting and vesting criteria, vehicle, employer and employee contribution amounts, pensionable salary, investment funds and retirement distribution options.

Over the last few years there has been a growing interest by companies to offer an IPP or ISP to provide retirement and savings benefits to local employees and expatriates in crisis countries, for example those suffering from economic and political uncertainty, war or other such crises (including failure of the local supplementary pensions system). This year the IPP Survey contains a feature article looking at this in more detail.