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Aon International Retirement Monthly Newsletter – November 2020

In this month's issue, we have a good range of articles and thought leadership focusing on accounting, investment and local country topics. We have had a great reaction to our series of country hot topic webinars this year, and we finish the year with a look at Belgium (including cross-border pension opportunities as well as local developments) on 1 and 2 December. As ever, please do let us know of any feedback or what you'd like to hear more of.

From Colin Haines, Partner, International Retirement & Investment



International Discount Rates Newsletter
A reminder that we have launched a new Newsletter, where we cover how discount rates, inflation rates and investments are evolving in 2020, including details and consequences of COVID-19. An update based on end October market conditions is available here.

2019 Global Accounting Assumptions Survey
As the 2020 year end approaches, our annual survey of global IAS19/US GAAP accounting assumptions will be of use to companies when setting preliminary assumptions for 2020 year-end and budgets for 2021.

CIEBA - Committee on Investment of Employee Benefit Assets – Aon Risk Analyzer presentation
The CIEBA International Committee invited Aon’s Colin Haines, Partner, International Retirement and Investment (EMEA), and Paul Rangecroft, CEO, North America Retirement, to lead a session titled “Headquarter Pension Governance: Investment, Risk Management and Governance.” The presentation, moderated by Ruth Bosco, Director, Trust Investments, Xerox Corporation and Vice Chair of the International Committee, led a on international pension governance and a demo of Aon's Risk Analyzer international retirement cost and risk management tool. Click here to request more information on how Risk Analyzer can help you manage your retirement plans around the world, and provide data, analytics and insights for strategic risk management decisions.

ESG: A little less conversation, a little more action please
The term ‘ESG’ is often overused and causes confusion for trustees, when faced with the decision whether or not to adopt ESG. In his October article, Tim Manuel, Aon Head of Responsible Investment, tells us that responsible investing is now a ‘got to do’, while addressing all the worries that trustees might have. Click here to learn why you should not ignore ESG when investing.


Global Virtual Working webinar (EMEA)
On 3 November, Aon ran a seminar across all HR consulting disciplines on the people risks associated with the increase in global virtual working, and how HR professionals can approach the issues in the short term and develop a framework for the longer term as we enter the "new normal". Please get in touch if you would like to discuss further or join our Growing Multinationals Network.

Belgium: the problem with Branch 21 - article
Ever since the 2008 financial crisis, insurers in Branch 21 have been forced to invest mainly in bonds, a strategy which is proving to be problematic given the continuous decline in bond yields over the past decade. Retirees are gradually losing purchasing power and are struggling to maintain an acceptable standard of living. This article (Dutch or French) exposes the shortcomings of Branch 21’s investment strategies, and discusses the potential of Branch 23 as an alternative to Branch 21.

Switzerland: Retirement & Investment News
Recent changes have been made to pension plan regulations in view of COVID-19, including measures to ensure companies’ sufficient liquidity. To learn more about the COVID-19 law and other updates on Swiss retirement, such as 2020’s key old age pension figures, click here (French) or here (German).

Germany: Digital Pension Dashboards - webinar
On 28 October, Aon Germany held a major webinar on the German government initiative to introduce a pension dashboard for Germany. This is also a key priority for the European Commission across the EU as part of its new Capital Markets Union action plan. German government representatives and other industry stakeholders spoke and joined the event. Aon has been providing recommendations to the government on these proposals. Click here for an overview of the event.

Ireland: Aon DC Pension Survey 2020
Aon Ireland presents a comprehensive view of where Irish DC pensions schemes are currently, and where trustees and employers would like them to be. View the full report here, and there is also a recording of a recent webinar in which the highlights were presented.

UK Risk Settlement Bulletin – Q4 2020 issue
This quarter’s issue of the UK Risk Settlement Bulletin is now available and covers issues in the risk settlement market, including COVID-19 mortality and the investment perspective of buy-ins. Click here to access the Q4 issue.

UK Aon In Sight – November
Our quarterly summary of pensio8ns issues covers government consultations on climate risk governance and on DC consolidation and investment, preparing for pensions dashboards, and a round-up of other news. Click here to learn more.

UK Aon Hot Topics video series – Collective DC
In this video, Matthew Arends, Aon Head of UK Retirement policy, joins Ricky Marsh in the first in a series of short videos to discuss the potential for Collective DC schemes.

UK: Financial Wellbeing Calculator
Financial wellbeing is inherently personal – which is one of the reasons it is difficult for companies to understand the true landscape. Using the latest available data, our calculator enables you to visualise how healthy your employees’ finances are, and identify any missed opportunities in the wellbeing support available. Click here to give our financial wellbeing calculator a try.

Cyprus: Retirement Readiness During Times of Instability - study
The market downturn, coupled with higher rates of unemployment and reduced wages, is set to dramatically impair older workers’ retirement readiness, particularly in DC plans. Some people are no longer saving for retirement, and are tapping into their savings, resulting in a significant reduction in their standard of living in the long term. Click here to view the full study, or contact Philippos Mannaris for more information.


Aon Australia 2020 Employee Benefits Survey
The 2020 Employee Benefits Survey is now open and provides insight into major HR policies and benefits practices in Australia, tracking key trends such as the impact of COVID-19. This survey will help your clients make informed choices about reshaping their benefits programme in 2021. Click here for more information.

Australia: Superannuation Guarantee Increase Study 2020
The Superannuation Guarantee is currently legislated to increase to 10% from July 2021 and with subsequent increases annually thereafter. This may have impact on take-home pay and/or employer costs depending on your salary packaging approach.
In addition, and in light of the Royal Commission into Financial Services, we have seen an increase in employers undertaking a competitiveness and governance review of their superannuation vendor and related employee insurances within or outside of superannuation. Click here to access the study report.

India: Labour Codes & The Code on Social Security, 2020
The Code on Social Security, 2020 has been passed by the Indian Parliament after having been presented almost a year ago. This code is one of three labour codes which received Presidential assent, and which will eventually see India’s decades-old labour laws merged into four labour codes.
Click here for access to the white paper on the Social Security Code, and here to read an interview of Vishal Grover, Aon India, where he explains how the framing and implementation of the rules will determine the overall success of the labour codes.

Philippines Retirement Benefit Survey now available
We have completed a comprehensive study covering all aspects of retirement plan design in the Philippines, as there is a clear direction of travel to provide employees with retirement and other financial wellbeing support outside of the statutory minimum. Click here for more details on how to access the report.

Singapore Financial Wellbeing Survey – to be published soon
Many thanks to those who participated in our Singapore Financial Wellbeing and Retirement Survey. Results will be published soon; please click here to send an email to register interest in receiving the results.

Thailand: DB Valuation Trends
Aon Thailand’s Valuation Trends is a biennial study that examines the assumptions and experiences of retirement plans under global and local accounting standards. The report provides a snapshot of the changes in financial and demographic assumptions used to value the liabilities based on accounting disclosures for years ending in 2019. Click here to request a copy of the report.


US Retirement Legal Consulting and Compliance Quarterly Update
The Retirement Legal Consulting & Compliance practice’s Quarterly Update is now accessible via this link and investigates recent benefit-related developments, and consulting opportunities for Q4. This quarter, topics include Pooled Employer Plans (PEPs), proxy voting rules, fiduciary and litigation updates, and Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Department of Labor, and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) guidance.

US: Is Hindsight 20/20? Preparing Your Retirement Plan Finances for Year-End Amidst Ongoing Uncertainty – webinar (USA)
With year-end quickly approaching, organisations, financial markets, and retirement programs continue to weather the storm that is the COVID-19 pandemic. This webinar provides an update on our quickly evolving environment, as well as insights on how the changes the pandemic has wrought should be reflected in year-end financials, 2021 budgets and investment strategies. A recording of the webinar can be found here.

US: P&I Managing Pension Risk Virtual Session – Aon Industry Leadership in Action (USA)
Aon led the annual Pensions & Investments (P&I) Pension Risk & Liabilities conference last month. The series was chaired by Aon’s Ari Jacobs and Megan Nichols, and presented leading pension investors, industry consultants, and asset managers, discussing the effects of 2020 market volatility on pension fund investments. Click here to access the recording.


Quarterly Investment Outlook
The Quarterly Investment Outlook is now available and offers the usual topical and client-friendly round-up of current investment issues, including updates on equity and credit markets, as well as the effect of the pandemic on market uncertainty. Click here to access the report or contact Tapan Datta / Derry Pickford if you have any questions.

Renewable energy infrastructure: investing in the global energy transition
New technologies and regulatory pressure to tackle climate change have sparked a transition in energy production, distribution, and consumption. We believe investment in renewable energy infrastructure is an opportunity for pension schemes to contribute to global sustainability goals and meet financial objectives. Click here to learn more.

Playing to win: how should schemes plan for the endgame?
With market volatility expected to continue, how can schemes take advantage of opportunities as they work towards their endgame? Click here to learn more about minimising risk and maximising flexibility for scheme endgames.


International Hot Topics Webinars

The last in our 2020 series of International Hot Topics Webinars will focus on Belgium (including cross-border plans), running live on 1 and 2 December. Click here to register.

We are already starting to plan for our 2021 programme, so if there are any locations you would especially like to learn more about, let us know.


As usual, we have a range of recent recordings for you to catch up on – starting with the International Retirement Hot Topics series, all of which are held in English and cover various trends in retirement benefits and financial wellbeing with suggested action points for employers:

  1. Netherlands (held in April)
  2. Switzerland (held in July)
  3. Philippines (held in August)
  4. China and Hong Kong SAR (early September)
  5. Japan (late September)
  6. France, Italy and Spain (held in October)

You or your colleagues may also be interested in accessing these recent webinars, available in local language:

  1. Canada (French or English): The Importance of Employee Retirement Readiness – Our perspective on Capital Accumulation Plans
  2. Ireland (English): DC Pension Survey 2020 – trends and highlights (mentioned in Surveys and Thought Leadership above)
  3. Netherlands (Dutch): Incoming Pension Reforms
  4. Norway (Norwegian): Pension Reforms – Personal Accounts – click to request access
  5. Switzerland: September 2020 IAS19/US GAAP accounting assumptions webinar (contact Mary Ann McNally and Erin Peters in Aon Switzerland for more information)
  6. Taiwan (Mandarin): Defined Benefit De-risking (see also paper in English)
  7. UK: Rocky 2019 and Rollercoaster 2020 – Accounting Strategy Webinar
  8. UK: Aon’s DC & Financial Wellbeing Conference. This six-session virtual conference covers a range of themes from setting and achieving your DC objectives to engagement and financial wellbeing.
  9. UK: Financial wellbeing: the short-term, the medium-term and the new normal – COVID-19 Response Webinar. Aon’s financial wellbeing experts explored steps that employers and trustees can consider in response to the coronavirus crisis, and looked at employee financial wellbeing trends likely to shape future pension and benefit design.
  10. UK: Member Options: How to Protect & Support your Pension Scheme Members – COVID-19 Response Webinar. Aon’s Member Options and Administration specialists were joined by a leading IFA firm to explore how pension schemes can support and protect members during the coronavirus crisis.
  11. US: Is Hindsight 20/20? Preparing Your Retirement Plan Finances for Year-End Amidst Ongoing Uncertainty. This webinar provides an update on our quickly evolving environment, as well as insights on how the changes the pandemic has wrought should be reflected in year-end financials, 2021 budgets and investment strategies.
  12. US: Managing Pension Risk Virtual Session presenting leading pension investors, industry consultants, and asset managers, discussing the effects of 2020 market volatility on pension fund investments.


Visit Aon's Global Retirement Updates for the latest legislative developments.

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