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German schemes outsourcing administration to minimise hassle, study shows

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The number of German pension funds outsourcing administration is growing, Towers Watson has found in a study citing increasing complexity is the main reason.

In total, 83% of the 65 companies the consultancy surveyed were already using external service providers for occupational pensions administration.

When the survey was last done in 2011, the share was 67%.

Another 17% are planning to outsource pensions administration for the first time, or add other services to the outsourced mandate.

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Three-quarters expected the outsourcing trend to continue, citing the increasing complexity of administration.

As much as 90% of respondents said they expected the complexity of the regulatory environment concerning labour and tax legislation to increase over the next 10 years.

Additionally, the volume of assets in the pension funds is increasing, and companies want to focus on their core business and other HR issues.

Both factors have also contributed to a greater need by pension fund members for information, which 82% of the companies expect will increase.

At the beginning of December, Towers Watson announced it had been re-awarded the administration for the pension plans of the Bosch group, including the €2.5bn Bosch Pensionsfonds, after the mandate was tendered at the end of a five-year-term.

The outsourced mandate covers pension arrangement for 200,000 employees and is as yet the largest outsourcing mandate of its kind.

Bernhard Wiesner, senior vice-president of corporate pensions and related benefits at Robert Bosch, said: “By hiring a qualified specialist service provider, we can ensure very efficient and at the same time lean administration processes for our occupational pension plans.”

He added his company could not have set up the administration “as economically” on its own.

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