Article published in Insurance Inside n°12 - Decembre 2018
Legal advice, an essential tool for occupational pension funds
In view of the continuous evolution of occupational pension plans and their growing complexity, it is sometimes difficult, even for professionals in the field, to follow changes in legislation and jurisprudence. In these circumstances, a legal specialist becomes a necessity. Explanations.
As a technical field that is difficult to access, occupational pension plans continue to evolve in line with increasing longevity and the relative moroseness of economic conditions. Pension figures, such as the BVG/LPP minimum interest rate, are defined by the Federal Council each year. And yet, the retirementof the baby boomer generation, longer life expectancy and the mixed economic context may undermine the fragile financial balance of the pension system in years to come. Hence the need for reform, however, the most recent attempts have been rejected by the population.
In addition to this ongoing changes, professionals are noting the increasing complexity of the field. The reason? Legislative and regulatory inflation which the sector has been experiencing for several years now. Boards of Trustees, pension fund management bodies and corporate HR departments are forced to comply with an increasing number of laws, regulations and other directives. Failure to do so can have serious consequences: the liability of the Board of Trustees can be engaged and the principles of good governance neglected. Nevertheless, for many pension funds, hiring an in-house professional pension lawyer represents a major investment and the requirements are often disproportionate to their own needs.
What is the solution?
To meet these needs, Swiss Risk & Care has developed a comprehensive offering of advice and support in the field of occupational pension law. “Our customer’s issues have become increasingly complex and involved over the years, says Nicolas May, Actuarial & Foundations Director at Swiss Risk & Care. The need for actuarial knowledge has been compounded by the need to acquire legal knowledge and to keep it up-to-date.” In addition to actuarial expertise, administrative management, technical and accounting services for pension funds, as well as investment advice, a new service is now available: legal advice. Pascal Payot, Director and Legal Officer at Swiss Risk & Care, is in charge of this service, which provides a cheaper alternative to hiring a specialized legal advisor or the systematic use of lawyers specializing in occupational pensions. Discover its other benefits in the interview with Pascal Payot below.
Support with common legal procedures
Develop, update and verify compliance with all statutes, regulations and internal guidelines.
Write and review contracts (reinsurance of risks, affiliation, takeover of annuitants, transfer of assets, mergers, etc.).
Examine and create the legal documentation necessary for the operation of your pension fund.
Support during special events
Manage total and partial liquidation procedures.
Support for merger procedures.
Examine and advise on individual cases (affiliation, benefits, etc.).
Write legal opinions and take positions.
Notify the Board of Trustees about new legal changes.
Establish information leaflets for insured persons (encouragement of home ownership, entitlement to survivor benefits, etc.).
DA legal advice and support service was added to the Swiss Risk & Care occupational pension offering in Sep- tember 2017. Who is it aimed at and what are the benefits? Answered by the Director, Pascal Payot.
Who is the legal advice aimed at?
This service is intended both for clients and non-clients of our actuarial, management and investment services. As well as pension funds wishing to obtain legal advice on specific issues or having its rules reviewed can call on us, even if it is not already a client. An «à la carte» service will then be offered. We receive requests from Boards of Trustees and pension fund management bodies, as well as companies and their HR departments.
What are the benefits of using Swiss Risk & Care legal services?
We fully personalize our services. We have the ability to provide explanations and advise and to search for tailor-made solutions. We examine the needs and the specific situation of each client in order to provide the appropriate services. Using us to draft regulations and legal documents for pension institutions enables you to comply with good governance standards by continuously updating this documentation. Last but not least: you are guaranteed that all legal aspects are coordinated and are in compliance. A definite asset when Boards of Trustees are exposed to legal liabilit.
In addition to legal advice, we can also provide you with training in occupational pensions. The liability of the Board of Trustees is the most commonly requested topic. Why?
Firstly, being the “militiamen» of occupational pension funds, the members of the Board of Trustees have had a legal obligation to undergo training since the first revision of the BVG/LPP. Secondly, they may be called on to answer decisions taken in this regard on their own private wealth. Why stress more than one person! The risks and the keys to controlling these risks are taught to them, and they are then monitored with great interest, which can only provide educators such as myself with pleasure!