I think there's a genuine problem when people localise in lots of different countries because they end up with little bits of pension in various places. Trying to sort that out when they finally come to retire and working out the tax treatment is quite a big challenge. I think ideally, if it was at all possible, if an employee can remain in their home country’s pension plan that makes life a lot easier all around. Failing that, looking into an international plan so they have the ability to move but retain those benefits would be really useful.
On one hand, a solid benefits offering of course enhances an employer brand and enriches the value proposition that an employer can extend to its international staff. However, on the other hand, it also mitigates risk and potential duty of care issues given increasing employer requirements to ensure employees save for their future - no matter how complex their career paths may be.
An employee who concludes a career at an organisation, for which they have made sacrifices and faced disruptive moves, with a multitude of pension pots and no centralised overview of accrued benefits presents, in my view, a potential legal risk but also constitutes a failure in fulfilling employer obligations in the psychological contract.
From a pension perspective, globally mobile employees are really no different to local employees in that they need to be encouraged to save for retirement. Mobile employees who traditionally have home-based contracts are usually encouraged to stay in their home retirement plan. However, some circumstances mean that this option may not provide adequate retirement savings opportunities through tax efficient savings, or the investment options may be low return. In these situations, and also where a globally mobile employee has no “home base”, it may be appropriate to use an International Retirement Plan, whether that be an insured or trust based arrangement to operate as an ‘umbrella’ plan to support gaps in coverage.