Cases

These completed cases provide an accurate reflection of our collective corporate pension practice. For expat pension cases please visit: www.expatpensionholland.nl

  • Case 1: Restructure German Pension Plan

    Facts

    A German subsidiary of a European concern had a German pension plan which was rather out of date and required change.

    Issues

    It was most relevant to explain to the European and local German Board as well as to the Employees Counsel what the options were according to German law and see to perfect implementation.

    Solutions

    Both Boards as well as the Employees Counsel accepted the proposed option, which was implemented in a pleasant manner.

  • Case 2: Restructure Pension Plan for Global Company

    Facts

    A global company had an insured plan which did not yet have the benefits of much more modern alternatives as provided by certain PPI providers.

    Issues

    Most relevant was explaining that PPI’s can indeed offer a fine and modern alternative to the classic insurance company and to explain these differences and which PPI was deemed most suitable taking into account the already set parameters.

    Solutions

    The company agreed with the presented quote selection and recommendation after which the PPI provided a perfect implementation.

  • Case 3: Dutch Pension Plan for French Global Company

    Facts

    A global French company did not yet have a Dutch collective pension plan for its in Holland working employees.

    Issues

    One of the most relevant issues was if it was indeed possible to create a pension plan for a foreign company with no Fixed Settlement in Holland.

    Solutions

    As our analyses explained that such a plan was indeed possible, the implemented quote selection showed which PPI was most attractive after which we provided for implementation.

  • Case 4: Pension Compensation due to International Merger and Relocation

    Facts

    As two global companies had merged, many executives had to relocate which also effected their pension claims.

    Issues

    I.e. is was about comparing the former and new national pension claims and to provide calculations and advice about the if deemed suitable correct amount of annual gross compensation.

    Solutions

    After having determined the exact amount of previous pension claims in several countries and compared its prolonged continuation until pension age with the new claim prolongation, we were able to establish the correct compensation. Which was accepted by both the company as well as by the executives.

  • Case 5: Pension Plan for Company with Many Expat Employees

    Facts

    An international company with many expat employees did not yet have a pension plan.

    Issues

    As there was no pension plan, the employees did not have the related tax benefits and no fine and not expensive next of kin coverage. Which the Board did not prefer as they as good employer wanted to provide for their employees.

    Solutions

    We explained to the Board that a corporate pension plan with maximum flexibility would serve many purposes: Low costs for the company and employees, fine next of kin coverage for the employees plus for the employees the option to if so desired infuse additional pension premium with full tax benefits. After which the best fitting PPI quote was implemented.

  • Case 6: Introduction of Pension Plan instead of Informal Pension Contribution

    Facts

    An international company had the impression that is was good not to have a pension plan and instead gave all employees additional gross wages to use as they deemed suitable.

    Issues

    Even though we understood and appreciated that the company liked a ‘lean and mean’ approach, not using substantial tax benefits was very negative for the employees.

    Solutions

    After explaining these aspects to the Board and the employees, we selected the best fitting PPI and saw to implementation. Good to know that now the employees do have the tax benefits!

  • Case 7: Restructure Dutch Corporate Pension Plan for Dutch Company

    Facts

    Our client has a floral company and had not received proper and timely pension consultancy which needed to be corrected.

    Issues

    The main issue, besides selecting the best new pension provider and quote, was how to convince the employees to agree with a substantial and unpleasant but completely correct decrease of their pension claim and increase of their own contribution in order to again have a regular normal corporate pension plan.

    Solutions

    By being frank and transparent the employees understood that due to changed circumstances and extremely increased pension costs, a reduction was unfortunately inevitable.

    As the previous pension consultancy firm had neglected to provide advice that met the legal standard, they agreed to our proposal to pay our fee instead of our client.

  • Case 8: Mediation between American Company and Dutch Executives

    Facts

    Our client is an American company. As the now common switch from a very expensive final pay guaranteed pension claim to an investment based pension plan required implementation, our firm was asked to mediate between the company and the valued regional executives.

    Issues

    According to Dutch law a corporate pension claim can i.e. only be changed if the participants agree to the change. In this case the executives felt not really respected because of the severe change and its indeed rather far reaching impact.

    Solutions

    We have explained to the executives that due to the historically low interest rate the former plan was three times as expensive as a now normal plan. After many meetings the executives finally accepted our proposal as they understood that we not only wanted to create normal pension premium costs for the company but were also sincerely trying to get them the best deal.

  • Case 9: Change Cash Pension for Real Pension Plan for Danish Company

    Facts

    A respected global Danish company offered a cash pension to their regional executive team. As that did not provide any highly relevant tax benefits, that required change.

    Issues

    Besides explaining the huge tax benefits at retirement age to the executives and to HR, we also had to convince HR that it was indeed possible to properly manage a formal corporate pension plan and that there would not be any surprises.

    Solutions

    By providing all inclusive service which also included to function as helpdesk throughout the year, we were able to convince the company to agree. Great to thus contribute to the tax benefit for the executives.

  • Case 10: Implications for Pension Obligations due to Desired New Business Structure

    Facts

    An international company which supplied flexible workforce to other companies, had the intention to change their corporate structure and channel their business in a new manner.

    Issues

    The issue was that due to the several kind of employee contracts and several kind of business types and mandatory Pension Funds and due to existing several kind of central labor agreements called CAO, it was not that clear to see what a new structure would mean for the pension claims and costs. The company said they had a hard time getting clear answers before hiring our company.

    Solutions

    As always we first carefully collected and analyzed all facts. After a careful process we finally provided insight by means of our trademark Pension Memorandum.

  • Case 11: Pension Solutions For French Company In The Netherlands

    Facts

    A French company without any fixed establishment in The Netherlands, requested our support for getting the most suitable pension coverage for their employees in The Netherlands.

    Issues

    The company preferred not to have a Company Pension Plan and wished instead to provide a Personal Pension Plan for each employee. The employees however preferred the Company Pension Plan as this provided substantially more tax benefits.

    Solutions

    We have explained in an objective manner all differences between the Corporate versus Private Dutch Pension Plan.

    It was possible to provide a Dutch Private Pension Plan for each employee as the overal coverage was not less than within the Corporate Pension Plan. This due to additional compensation and risk coverage.

  • Case 12: US Based Company’s Adviser Should Have Checked Existing Obligations

    Facts

    A US based technical company with international employees contacted our firm in order to replace their previous pension consultancy firm and provide them the best possible occupational pension coverage for their Dutch employees.

    Issues

    Even though it is very interesting to assist our client in getting the best possible coverage, from a legal and tax perspective it seems advisable to first check if their is no mandatory legal pension coverage already in place.

    Solutions

    Due to the existing legal mandatory participation in a Pension Fund, we patiently explained to all (very disapointed) participants involved, that there were no ‘options’ but to join that Pension Fund. And to thus prevent many complex correction procedures later on.

    In the end they all understood and were grateful that we prevented high correction costs later on.

  • Case 13: Italian Company Departs From ‘International Pension Plan’ For A Real Pension Plan

    Facts

    Our client is an international company based in Italy. In the past they have created an ‘International Pension Plan’ for their expat employees. Of which a number are registered in The Netherlands. They had been advised that this was most efficient and benefical for all parties involved.

    Issues

    We have explained to our client and their new HR Director that an International Pension Plan sounds perfect and very efficient but is it also that perfect in reality?

    The answer is no if the plan does not meet all the requirements as prescribed by the subsequential national tax and civil legislation.

    In normal words, as that often will not be the cause, this means that expats miss out on very relevant tax and (compounded return on investment) benefits.

    Solutions

    We have advised our client to restructure and to if possible opt for an occupational pension plan in each country involved with the all important tax benefits.

    Only if that is not possible and only if a private pension plan as an alternative is not possible, only then an international coverage might be an alternative if the costs are not too high. (Which they often are.)

  • Case 14: Canadian Company Requested Pillar 2 Versus Pillar 3 Pension Advice

    Facts

    For our client it is relevant that current employees in The Netherlands remain working for the company in the near future.

    Issues

    Pensions have been a rather sensative topic for the employees due to not very transparent communications in the past. Which gave the employees the impression that they had not received all the information they should have had.

    Solutions

    We have provided an analyses of all possible options regarding Private versus Corporate Pensions in which we paid attention to all relevant aspects which are among others:

    • Amount of tax benefits and if possible to optimise;
    • If international transfers of value are allowed;
    • Height of risk coverages;
    • Definition and maximum of pensionable wages;
    • Investment options;
    • Amount and type of costs;
    • Pay-out flexibility;
    • International double tax treaty positions.
  • Case 15: Impact Of New Pension Legislation For Swedish Company

    Facts

    Our client is a Swedish company which has employees in The Netherlands and with a Dutch Insured Occupational Pension Plan.

    Issues

    We have informed first of all our client’s HR Director of the expected new Dutch pension legislation and the impact thereof on their future pension plan.

    Which is substantial and requires timely information provision for both Management, Employees Counsel and Employees.

    Solutions

    Together with our client’s HR Director we have drafted a timeline after which we presented how we are going to provide complete, transparent but also easy to understand information about the expected changes of their plan and claims.

  • Case 16: Assistance Of Dutch Employees Counsel Within Swiss Concern

    Facts

    We have been hired by the Employees Counsel of the Dutch settlement of a Swiss Concern. The Employees Counsel preferred to be informed and advised by an independent firm with international pension knowledge and experience.

    Issues

    The main issues according to the Employees Counsel were that:

    • In the past they had neglected to pay propper attention to their corporate pension coverage;
    • They had been somewhat overwhelmed by the firm’s position that the coverage of the Dutch employees needed to be in line with the coverage of the employees in other locations.

    Solutions

    As we started to inform and advise the Employees Counsel, it again appeared that Management of the company was not unwilling. But rather that the technical pension details made it more difficult to get to the essence and communicate with the Employees Counsel on essentials.

    Once that was out of the way, the HR department was kind enough to mention that during this process they had also learned about corporate pensions in international perspective.

  • Case 17: Advice For Expats With UK Private And/Or Occupational Pension Claims

    Facts

    We were requested to provide advice for a number of Expats who had build up Private and/or Occupational Pension Claims in the UK in the past.

    Issues

    Due to Brexit they had been ‘notified’ by their subsequential pension provider that they were expected to transfer their pension claims to ‘another destination’.

    Solutions

    The first step is to acknowledge that UK pension providers are not to give pension advice to their clients.

    Thus we researched for each client if he/she should keep the pension claim within the UK or transfer to a QROPS or transfer to a currently active private or occupational pension claim.

    Needless to say that within this analyses the international double tax prevention and tax treaties are a relevant aspect.

    The essence? Only decide after you have received unpartical quality advice.

  • Case 18: Transfer Of Value Advice For Expats From German Company

    Facts

    We were requested to provide advice for several expats from a German company as they ,due to a merger, were relocating from The Netherlands to three other EU countries and some to The UK.

    Issues

    For each expat there were two essential questions:

    1] Is such a transfer legally and tax wise allowed in both countries involved?

    2] If so, would a transfer be beneficial for the expat involved looking at all tax, costs, investment options, risk coverage, product specifications and pay-out (in)flexibility?

    Solutions

    In our advice and implementation we treated each expat as a separate case as their already build up occupational pension claims and personal situations were different.

    Pension & People = Never the same solution!

  • Case 19: NGO Requires Advice Regarding Collective Risk Coverage

    Facts

    Our client is an NGO whose professionals work in many countries, which are not always the most safe places to be. As many employees also have families, they kindly requested from the NGO that we provide advice about all options for additional international risk coverage.

    Issues

    The central issue is how to provide the most all inclusive life coverage for all employees of all ages at low costs and at the best possible tax treatment.

    Solutions

    Due to the historically low interest rate, the costs of risk coverage have decreased dramatically last decade. Furthermore a group coverage indeed has the benefit of less high costs. Which does not always mean that costs are low.

    It turned out that the preferred coverage was not on annuity base but as a one time substantial Lump Sum.

    Finally the additional coverage was welcome for all employees but especially for the less young employees as an individual life risk coverage plan for them would be much more expensive or even not able to acquire.