Buck has established itself in nine different European countries with the recent addition of Geneva. Following the acquisition of the worldwide consulting practices of Wills & Caroon last year, its presence has been strengthened, particularly in the UK where it has nearly 300 employees working on both actuarial and investment consulting. Buck also has a strong presence in Ireland and Spain, which have experienced rapid growth over the past couple of years", says Will Gaitan, principal at Buck in New York. And as is the case with many consultants, France is a focal point for reorganisation, reinvestment and an element of rethinking. "We are looking to expand the office and be more aggressive in the French market," asserts Gaitan. Buck's client base in the pensions field is not limited to funded plans and is in the process of designing and coordinating a variety of defined contribution programmes for its Spanish clientele, "with creative designs because the legislation there is quite difficult to work with". The product is integrated with the social security system which is in the process of being curtailed, so has been designed with "a notional social security benefit, so the employer isn't left being stuck with the tab". Buck is also developing an executive compensation capability including medical plans and stock options for its corporate clients in Germany."