FRANCE – Anglo-Dutch consumer goods company, Unilever, has established a new épargne salariale type retirement provision vehicle for its French employees, a voluntary defined contribution model that will be split between six investment funds to be managed by BNP Paribas.

Unilever’s new plan, known generically in France as plan partenarial d’épargne salarial volontaire (PPESV), is said to be the first if its kind to receive regulatory approval. It was set up at the end of last year as part of the Loi Fabius, the new long term savings reform introduced last February to replace or supplement the traditional caisse de retraite, the company pay-as-you-go system. The reform extended the mandatory period an employee must wait before having access to his/her savings from five years to ten years.

Employees at Unilever who opt to take out a PPESV, will be able to have a direct impact on the way their money is invested. They may choose themselves which BNP Paribas fund they would like to have their money placed in or leave the choice up to the asset manager.

A supervisory commission has been established to review the investment manager’s performance on a yearly basis.