GLOBAL – Hewitt Associates has identified six areas where companies need to exert control of their global retirement benefits activities.

Hewitt said firms’ human resources and finance managers are experiencing “less than optimal control” over global retirement benefits.

“To help organisations regain control, we identified six dimensions of retirement benefits management that global employers must address in order to maximise control over their retirement programs.”

The “dimensions of control” are: alignment with business strategies, managing costs, minimizing risks, optimizing processes, enabling employees and executing globally.

Hewitt has conducted a study of more than 100 multinational firms which found that risk- and cost-management concerns are ranked more important than supporting employee retirement objectives

“With the mounting cost of pension schemes and the increasing complexity of government regulation, most multinational employers lack the control they would like over their retirement benefits,” Hewitt said.

Hewitt found that only 35% of respondents have a written global strategy for their retirement plans. And 64% did not have annual goals in the area – although half said they planned to develop them in the future.

"We were struck by the evident lack of control reported by many global companies which participated in this survey", said senor consultant Tim Reay.

"It's been several years now that companies' retirement plans have suffered from some of the worst financial market conditions in recent history and, more recently, been affected by corporate profitability problems as well as the financial effect of pensioners' increasing life expectancy.

“Companies need and want to be further ahead in managing this volatile aspect of their business."