EUROPE - The European Patent Office (EPO) is seeking an administration provider to help with the establishment of a new cross-border defined contribution (DC) scheme.

The tender, open to international applicants, is split into two lots - the provision of asset management services and the individual account administration of the new DC scheme which will open to new employees on January 1 2009.

At present, the EPO runs a defined benefit scheme called the Reserved Funds for Pension and Social Security (RFPSS), which has approximately 6,300 members from its offices in Germany, the Netherlands and Austria, and is valued at around €3.5bn. 

This new EPO scheme will be developed on a DC basis, and it is believed the scheme will run alongside the RFPSS to allow existing members to transfer to the new fund, while employees joining the EPO after January 1 2009 will have their pension benefits split between the two schemes.

Although the tender for administration services is split into two, the EPO confirmed it would prefer to award the contract to one provider, and warned the services must be operational for January 1 2009 when the new scheme opens to entrants.

The initial contract is for three years, although EPO retains the option to extend the agreement by periods of two years with six months notice, and it requires providers to work in the EPO's three official languages of English, French and German.

In addition, the EPO is seeking a firm with geographical and international experience of pension schemes, and the ability to demonstrate the adequacy and innovation of the proposed investment strategy.

The tender will close to applications on April 23 2008.

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