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In the last post in our series on group benefit plans for international schools we looked at the range of staff insurance options available for international schools. In this, the final post in this series, we will take a look at group pension plans for international schools in Asia.
There is no doubt that international schools which offer a staff pension scheme are a more attractive employment proposition for experienced teachers. International school teachers who plan a long career of working overseas are very aware of their pension position and providing a good package is an excellent way for schools to attract and retain staff.
Infinity have developed a successful partnership with a number of international schools across Asia and gained invaluable experience in matching specific requirements to suitable pension schemes in the international market. Although schools vary in their requirements, there are a number of features that most look for when opting for a scheme.
Simplicity and flexibility
Most international schools want a pension plan that is simple to understand and quick to implement. We have repeatedly found that schools want to avoid the complexity and paperwork involved in many host country schemes in favour of those that are simple for both teachers and school administrators to understand. The plans also need to be flexible enough to cope with pensions for multiple nationalities that can be accessed anywhere in the world.
Light in administration
Our experience has shown that schools do not want their administrators tied up working on paperwork for staff pensions; they want them running the school. As a result, we recommend international pension schemes where the majority of the administration is handled by the pension provider.
At the same time, schools and scheme members want to be able to monitor and access the pension records. The schemes we recommend are provided with comprehensive online web-based monitoring tools. This allows school and staff to view contribution records, account balances and investment performance over the internet whenever they want.
It goes without saying that schools want value for money and cost effectiveness. The international plans available make it possible for schools to save money by not having to pay for professional services such as accountants and tax advisers.
International school teachers by their nature move around and some international schools have multiple centres in different countries. This requires pension schemes to be portable around the world. The plans we recommend allow contributions to be made from anywhere in the world and staff members can be located in any country.
Schools generally want the flexibility to set contribution levels and to decide whether the pension scheme will be contributory and non-contributory.
The following provides some examples of how schools could structure contributions:
Premiums can usually be variable as long as a clear schedule of payment breakdown for each member is provided. Minimum premium levels vary according to the provider
Schools often want to introduce a vesting period to ensure that teachers serve a minimum term before having access to any contribution by the school into the pension. With international pension plans, schools have the flexibility to set the limit of any vesting period. For example, a typical period could be set at one year; however it is up to the school to set it at whatever length of time is deemed appropriate.
Many schools want the freedom to decide whether their plan is mandatory for all staff or whether some staff members are eligible for other optional plans and the ability to set the retirement age.
At Infinity our experienced corporate team are dedicated to helping schools find the best pension scheme to suit their particular needs. As wholly independent advisers, we are not attached to any particular pension provider and can source the entire market to find the most suitable plan.
We provide full assistance to schools in setting up their chosen scheme and provide the highest standards of service to ensure that the scheme continues to operate smoothly and cause the minimum disruption to the working of the school.
If you would like to know more about group pension plans for your school, get in touch.
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