International employee benefits

Bespoke employee benefits, pensions, savings and share plans for international employers, their employees and individuals – in the jurisdiction of your choice.

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The structures you need

For international employers, individuals and their professional advisors, we are the pain-free route to customised, tax-efficient and strategy-driven employee benefit, retirement and savings plans.

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Where you need them

Our multi-jurisdiction approach is unique in international employee benefits. When others try to shoehorn solutions into their favourite jurisdiction, we help you find the right jurisdiction for your strategic objectives.

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Reward, motivate, retain

Whether you are tackling an inefficient structure, or a patchwork of legacy provisions or starting with a blank sheet of paper, we have the flexible structures, a class-leading technology platform, creative minds and multi-jurisdictional expertise to match your challenges.

Our jurisdictions

TMF Group have 14 regulated trust jurisdictions out of the 84 countries in which we operate. The following 5 are the core jurisdictions from which employee benefits are provided, but this does not preclude the others.

Our structures

International pension plans

Expatriates and internationally-mobile employees deserve a sound retirement plan just like everyone else. Providing one is another matter. National regulations limit flexibility, portability and fiscal efficiency. International legislation is hard to navigate. Set-up costs can be substantial.

Thanks to our singular multi-jurisdictional approach and global reach we can offer a range of flexible, efficient and cost-effective employer-sponsored international pension solutions that are readily portable from company to company and jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

  • Packaged plans provide standardised solutions
  • Bespoke schemes can be tailored to exact needs
  • Hybrid structures support the complexity of international HR objectives

Open architecture provides the freedom to invest in numerous asset classes. Our easy-to-use online platform simplifies investment management and lets individual members manage their accounts. Demonstrations available on request.

For United States citizens working abroad for non-US employers, our Mdina Master Trust Retirement Scheme even provides a fully tax-compliant international pensions contract.

A safe haven for leavers

A major global employer, headquartered in South-East Asia, maintains 15 or so retirement plans which vary according to business division and length of service. Older schemes are more generous than newer ones. Staff on long-term secondment can face discrimination on accrual and other issues on returning home or retirement.  A new solution allows the employer to consolidate existing arrangements into a more suitable jurisdiction(s).

US tax efficiency in the UAE

A US energy company needs a tax efficient pension plan for 150 US citizens employed at a very high level and on long-term contracts in its UAE subsidiary. The new scheme must accept employee and employer contributions, allow members day-one access to the complete fund and be US tax-efficient wherever the member choses to retire. Our Mdina Master Trust retirement scheme, located in Malta, meets all requirements for employer and employees. The US-Malta double tax treaty ensures that if a member’s benefits are not taxable in Malta they are not taxable in the US either. 

Share Plans/Employee Benefit Trusts

Long term incentive plans are a powerful way for international employers to attract, retain, motivate and reward. Share and bonus plans are fundamental to any competitive remuneration package for global executives and employees.

Broadly speaking, EBTs are discretionary trusts, located in the jurisdiction of your choice, with the employee (and often their spouse, dependants or civil partner) as the beneficiary. The trust can hold cash, shares, share options and rights, or some combination, and make transfers as appropriate.

EBT plans can be tailored to the employer’s objectives for the trust and the wider company. They often form the basis of management incentive plans, long-term incentive plans, joint share ownership plans, performance share plans, deferred bonus plans and the like, with the trustees responsible for making awards to employees who meet particular conditions (often employment- or performance-related).

Using an EBT to offer staff a vested ownership stake links their rewards and motivations directly to those of the wider business. The trust can even be designed to support a managed change of company ownership, paving the way for a management buy-out for example. TMF Group creates, maintains and administers flexible, efficient structures for a wide range of trust-based incentive arrangements.

We have been providing these services to clients of all sizes and from all sectors for more than 15 years – everyone from a small start-up to a large multi-national.

Sharing benefits worldwide

A multi-national company wants to create a bonus scheme providing benefits in shares and cash (in multiple currencies) for some 500 employees worldwide. Our deferred bonus plan operates through a Jersey discretionary trust. We provide corporate trustee and administration services which include receiving funds from many jurisdictions, purchasing equities and vesting shares worth €10-12 million.

Encouraging the long view

A major shipping company plans to float in 2021. It wants to encourage founder directors and senior executives to take a longer-term view of company success. A new incentive scheme will grant shares to directors and share options to executives. Assets will be segregated to protect them from takeover. We establish a suitable trust in Malta and act as trustee and administrator. When floated, the Trustees relieve the employer of the full administrative burden, we: co-ordinate between the stock exchange, registrars, brokers and banks; process share vesting; distribute shares and share options to employees; and even provide a one-stop vesting and settlement service for all beneficiaries, including support for tax returns and dividend distributions.

Jersey international savings plan

Employment is changing. Employees are more likely to work for several employers or in several jurisdictions. They need to be much more financially aware and they need the tools to exercise control throughout their working lives. 

Jersey international savings plans (JISP) are a new approved way for employees to save flexibly for an uncertain future. They perform many of the functions of an international pension but with much more flexibility. Without the rigid age and health-based access limitations, multinational employers are free to design a scheme that best supports business needs and employee lifestyles. Typically, this includes making some or all benefits available at life-changing moments like redundancy, divorce, home purchase and university study. 

JISPs can be usefully deployed alongside existing pension plans, share schemes and other incentive arrangements to create highly-customised hybrid schemes. Business benefits include more effective recruitment, retention and motivation. For employers in unstable sectors or high-risk locations, a Jersey ISP can protect employee benefits from creditors, insolvency and political risk.

Building for the future

A Far Eastern employer is struggling to keep its best young employees as they try to job-hop themselves onto the property ladder. A traditional pension scheme is unpopular with staff because it would lock-in almost all their benefits until they reach 55+. What else can be done? A JISP can be designed to let employees build a fund they can access after just five or ten years. If the employee decides to use their fund to purchase a home, the employer can provide an extra reward in the form of a top-up bonus.

Security for all

A major oil and gas employer has employees on every continent, with many travelling the world on rolling secondments. The company wants to provide secure benefits for everyone but also maximum flexibility for employees with no long-term base and an arrangement that will meet the mandatory EoSG requirements of the United Arab Emirates. Careful design creates a three-part JISP: mobile employees are allowed access to a part of their savings in the event of certain life-changing events; in line with local employment law, UAE employees receive all of their benefits as an end-of-service gratuity payment; employees in South-east Asia receive a traditional pension package when they retire at 55+.

End-of-Service Gratuities

Our trust-based EoSG structure is simple and flexible – ideal for companies needing a funded, transparent, secure and segregated arrangement to provide a lump sum at end of service. Also it allows for additional employee savings through salary deduction. Our online platform not only allows the member to manage their savings but provides a real-time calculation.

In the Gulf – where EoSG schemes are often unfunded and fiscally-uncertain – they are beginning to be replaced with investment-based workplace savings schemes. Our master trust structure provides employers with a solution much more flexible than official schemes, a state-of-the-art online member experience, and the potential to serve employees in multiple jurisdictions.

Compliant and flexible

An international technology company with a UAE subsidiary with 150 employees provides no pension but has an unfunded EoSG liability on its balance sheet. It wants a single solution that will achieve three things: fund all future EoSG liabilities; reduce the existing, unfunded risk; offer a retirement savings scheme (configured to encourage retention) with pre-retirement access to some of the benefits. We propose a two-part structure: one part meets local EoSG regulations; the other receives additional contributions from employer and employee. Departing employees can now depend on receiving their EoSG payment and their personal savings.

Fair at home and abroad

A UK-based international charity provides a full suite of benefits to the staff in its headquarters but has no provision at all for globally-mobile employees. Short-stay postings, unstable jurisdictions and complicated local tax regimes make an international pension plan unsuitable. International staff have been receiving an extra 7% of salary and are expected to make their own arrangements. In order to remove ongoing discrimination and harmonise benefits across the organisation, an EoSG plan could be set up which allows the employer to avoid the complexities of international pensions while still creating a secure lump sum equivalent to a pension for staff who leave or retire. Employees can also make their own additional contributions to a secure and transparent savings vehicle. The creation of an employer-sponsored scheme further improves recruitment and retention.

We make a complex world simple

TMF Group is a leading provider of critical administrative services, helping clients invest and operate safely around the world.

Our 9,100 experts and 120 offices in 85 jurisdictions worldwide serve corporates, financial institutions, asset managers, private clients and family offices, providing the combination of accounting, tax, payroll, fund administration, compliance and entity management services essential to global business success.

We know how to unlock access to the world’s most attractive markets – no matter how complex – swiftly, safely and efficiently. That’s why more than 60% of the Fortune Global 500 and FTSE 100, and almost half the top 300 private equity firms, work with us.

Our unique global delivery model, underpinned by our innovative digital platforms, means we can cover sectors as diverse as capital markets, private equity, real estate, pharmaceuticals, energy and technology, with experts on the ground providing local support.

With year-on-year growth averaging 8% since 2013, TMF Group is a trusted and reliable partner. Whether operating across one border or many, with a handful of staff or several thousand, we have the business-critical support you need to expand, operate and grow while remaining compliant, everywhere.