Who is United Pensions for?

Who is United Pensions for?

United Pensions is a multi-employer cross-border pension fund (multi-IORP) established in Belgium. United Pensions is an appealing option for multinational firms. The pension assets from various countries can be converged into a single fund, while the pension schemes in each country will remain segregated. United Pensions is an interesting alternative, or addition, to local solutions for pension funds, companies with an insured pension scheme and domestic companies.

United Pensions is a cross-border pension fund with participation from a number of companies and pension funds. The various companies’ assets are fully segregated in legal terms. This enables each pension scheme to run along individual lines; the schemes are not required to have the same rules. Scheme financing, investment strategy and indexation policy can also be specified individually. This means scheme-specific customisation is not a problem.

For multi-nationals

United Pensions is a multi-employer cross-border pension fund (multi-IORP) in Belgium.

Current challenges

Participants want:
  • A stable and indexed pension commitment
  • Adequate, personalised communications about the scheme
  • Adequate supervision of their scheme
  • Insight into their pension and its performance
Employers want:
  • Predictability of pension costs
  • Insight into and control over pension administration in their operating countries
  • The option of transferring both Defined Benefit and Defined Contribution schemes to a single pension administrator
  • Limited administration fees
  • Robust investment policy
  • Reliable partner and continuity
  • Positive participant experience
How does United Pensions respond to these needs?

For employers operating in several countries, United Pensions is a cross-border pension solution for both Defined Benefit schemes and Defined Contribution schemes. So-called CDC schemes may also be administered by United Pensions.

The policy and funding rules are based on a long-term focus, aimed at reducing the volatility of the funding ratio. This increases premium stability and in most cases increases the forecast pension capital. The level of certainty required can be customised for each client, always within the framework imposed by the Belgian Supervisor.

United Pensions also assists both employers and pension funds in setting up their governance. Centralising governance provides economies of scale relating to pension administration and cost as well as ensuring professional scheme governance.

The pension commitment to scheme participants/employees is always subject to the supervision in the country where the pension commitment is made. This means that the pension scheme will remain Dutch. Regulations regarding communications, duty of care, tax rules, individual asset transfers and influence of the Works Council etc. will remain effective.

Supervisory differences

The supervision frameworks that apply in various European countries are all based on the European IORP guidelines. United Pensions is established in Brussels, which is why the Belgian prudential framework applies. This Belgian prudential framework is different from the Dutch framework in some respects.

The Belgian Supervisor, FSMA, provides more room for agreements relating to funding and valuation; these are principle-based, while Dutch regulations are rule-based. The Belgian framework requires such agreements to be substantiated in detail. The scheme must be a consistent commitment made to the employees of a company and adequate funding must be provided. The employer’s choices must therefore be explained and substantiated to the FSMA.

The calculation rules for pension funds in Belgium differ from those in the Netherlands.
The calculation rules in Belgium are among the strictest in Europe. In the Netherlands, the same rules apply to both companies and pension funds. This also applies in Belgium, but being principle-based, the framework offers more room for customisation.

  • The employer must persuade the Belgian Supervisor of its business
  • Can it demonstrate adequate knowledge of the rules?
  • Is the pension scheme aligned with the financing?

The Dutch legislation remains effective in relation to the social aspects and employee benefit of the scheme. The influence and rights of the Works Council and Unions remain the same.

Scheme administration remains in the Netherlands. Communications etc. are all managed from the Netherlands in accordance with the Dutch rules.