The number of global nomads—employees who move from country to country on multiple assignments—and long-term expatriates has risen, and, according to recent research from Mercer, it’s creating a problem for employers that offer expat retirement programs.

Retirement policies
Internationally mobile employees have traditionally maintained coverage in their home country’s retirement plan. The survey finds that 63% of traditional and long-term expatriates are part of their home country retirement plans.

“While this is suitable for short-term and traditional assignees, problems can occur [when] applying these plans to global nomads,” explains Mark Price, a principal in Mercer’s International Consulting Group. “Employers can run into problems when it is no longer possible, for a variety of reasons, to maintain assignees in the home country plan. In these circumstances, many employers look for alternative, more flexible solutions.”

Establishing an international retirement plan can be a solution. This would provide a single solution across assignments and the potential for a common scheme design. But the survey found that only 12% of companies have established one of these plans.

“Whilst 12% appears low,” said Price, “it is indicative of the market, and we’re actually seeing an increase in the use of such vehicles outside Asia Pacific. They are very effective in providing consistent coverage fageor mobile populations and in jurisdictions where no appropriate plans exist.”

Why plan sponsors don’t provide a universal plan

  • insufficient numbers of employees to justify the costs (38%);
  • a combination of home/host country plan meets needs (30%); and
  • lack of awareness of the potential benefits of establishing an international retirement plan or no consideration of this as an option (17%).

Copyright © 2020 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on

Join us on Twitter

Add a comment

Have your say on this topic! Comments that are thought to be disrespectful or offensive may be removed by our Benefits Canada admins. Thanks!

* These fields are required.
Field required
Field required
Field required