EUROPE - The complexity and diversity of Europe's national pension systems is increasing costs for multi-national companies and "accelerating" the trend towards job relocation outside of the EU, the results of a worldwide survey published today by AEGON have revealed.
Frans van der Horst, managing director of the AEGON Pension Network, said: "The absence of integrated cross-border pension systems is seen as a significant obstacle to competitiveness. There is a clear and emerging need for a corporate solution to help multi-nationals regain their competitive edge and keep costs down."
He added: "In the absence of a legislative framework towards a unified approach across the EU, multi-nationals will lead the way in seeking out cost-effective solutions from the market to meet their needs."
Some 74% of respondents said they would rather design and implement their own integrated cross-border corporate pension systems than wait for EU-wide pension legislation to be implemented. Panelists consulted for the survey estimated that in five years, 22% of the world's top 500 multi-national corporations would have established their own integrated global pension solution for their employees.
The survey also confirmed the worldwide trend away from DB pension schemes and towards DC schemes, with 61% of employers with over 5,000 employees agreeing the trend would continue "around the globe".
The "Bridging Pension Plans Worldwide" survey, conducted in conjunction with LIMRA International (the worldwide association of insurance and financial services companies), interviewed 115 experts from 16 countries worldwide and is believed to be the world's first multi-national pensions survey.
The survey's respondents control or advise corporate pension plans worth around €1trn in total and covering 18 million employees worldwide. The survey was carried out in Q3 2006.
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