International Pensions Plans and Employee Benefits

International Pensions Plans and Employee Benefits

International Pensions Plans and Employee Benefits

International employee benefit schemes are a key consideration for employers who wish to retain and attract the best talent, ensuring a loyal and dedicated workforce.

Most employees now expect global pension plans and end of service benefits as a vital part of their overall compensation package.

Equiom has considerable experience in this area and offers a number of options when it comes to trustee services for pension arrangements, from employee benefits schemes and pensions to savings and share plans for expatriates and employers.

Our range of services are offered in a number of jurisdictions around the world and include:

  • End of Service Benefit Plans
  • International Pension Plans 
  • Employee Benefit Trusts 
  • Employee Ownership Trusts 

End of Service Benefit Plans

End of service gratuity is a statutory obligation for companies across many Middle Eastern jurisdictions and is designed to help fund employees’ future retirement needs. The requirement for a company to pay End of Service Benefits (ESBs) is well known in this region and a frequently talked about subject. Equiom are the market leading trustee in the Middle East with over 20 years of experience and hold the prestigious role of Master Trustee to the DIFC Workplace Savings Plan (DEWS).

International Pension Plans

An International Pension Plan (IPP) involves a defined contribution plan that combines investment, administration and trust services which can be tailored to your company’s specific needs.

IPPs are particularly popular with companies who have employees who work abroad on international assignments or are employed on a globally mobile basis.

IPPs enable organisations to offer an advantageous pension scheme as part of an employee’s remuneration package - essential for attracting and retaining talent for multinational corporations.

Employers have been utilising IPP arrangements over the years as an ideal solution for employees that either:

  • Move from their home country and are not able to remain in their home country pension scheme
  • Are employed in a country that has insufficient or no pension availability
  • Require a ‘top up’ to the local pension provision

IPPs provide flexibility in several areas such as:

  • Contribution percentages for both employers and employees 
  • Currency and type of investment 
  • Vesting scales for employer contributions
  • Number of countries and employer linked entities included in the IPP
  • Benefit distribution options – lump sum, annuity, drawdown
  • Portability of the members' pension pot

Employee Benefit Trusts

Employee Benefit Trusts (EBTs) have been established for several years to encourage employee share participation, acting as an important incentive for staff loyalty and productivity.

The term EBT is applied to a number of different types of trust. In general, an employer sets up an EBT as a vehicle to reward, motivate and incentivise employees. The benefits provided may be a share of profits, shares in the employer company, cash distributions or other employee incentives.

The features of EBTs include:

  • A discretionary trust holding assets on behalf of a class of beneficiaries
  • The trust is funded by the employer company
  • The trustees provide employee benefits in recognition of performance and other related factors
  • It is at the decision of the trustees only as to whom may benefit from the trust assets and the extent of such benefit

Benefits of EBTs:

  • Share warehousing removes complex and costly UK share buyback provisions
  • Private equity - allowing the company to buy back shares of a departing executive
  • EBTs have been used as a market maker for the sale and purchase of shares in the employer company
  • Tax considerations including capital gains tax and corporation tax

Employee Ownership Trusts 

An Employee Ownership Trust (EOT) is a form of trust which holds the shares in a trading company for the benefit of employees. Unlike a conventional employee benefit trust, any benefit it confers on employees must include all of them (although a qualifying period of up to 12 months is allowed) on the same terms. EOTs allow shareholders of trading companies to sell some or all of their shares, while allowing those companies to continue under the same stewardship, creating a platform for continued growth and success.

Benefits of EOTs:

  • Shareholders can sell their shares for full market value (based on an independent valuation)
  • The directors and senior management can remain in place and continue to run the company
  • No capital gains, income or inheritance tax liabilities should arise on the disposal of a controlling interest in a company to an EOT (or on the subsequent receipt of the purchase price by the former shareholders)
  • Companies controlled by EOTs are also able to pay to employees cash bonuses of up to £3,600 each year without any income tax liability, provided that these are paid to all qualifying employees on the same terms


For more information regarding any of the above plans, please get in touch with Chris CainMary Craven, Graham Marsh.

Equiom Fiduciary Services (Middle East) Limited is the Master Trustee and Operator of DEWS and is regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA). 
This material is intended only for Professional Clients and Market Counterparties as defined by the DFSA, and no other person should act upon it. However all employers and employees participating in an Employee Money Purchase Scheme will be treated as Retail Clients under the DFSA requirements.
Any underlying investment options which may be selected in the structure can carry investment risk, whereby the value of the underlying investments can go down as well as up.

Find out more

For a specific information on this service choose a region below:

Or contact our expert team

Not sure what you're looking for?

Get in touch
Equiom quote/image

We remain committed to the pillars of our success; a client centric model, clear value proposition which reflects our understanding of our clients needs and firm commitment to deliver innovative solutions across all our key locations.

The Equiom Way
Jonathan Jennings, Chief Executive Officer

Latest news

View all news
Equiom get in touch


Get in touch

If you have any questions, or would like to learn more about taking the next steps with Equiom, please select one of the options below.

Choose a location and contact the team Use our website form


Get in touch