An interview with Paul Jankowitsch of RESAVER

 

RESAVER is a pan-European pension plan which aims to enable mobile and non-mobile employees to remain with the same pension arrangement when moving between countries and jobs. We met Paul Jankowitsch, Founding Chairman of the Board of Directors from RESAVER , to find out more about the plan.

 

1. What are the pension challenges faced by mobile researchers today?

One major obstacle according to field research is a lack of financial perspective and pension planning in comparison with people working in industry/big multinationals.

Often it is too late by the time researchers find out that in their older age they will have to live on a state pension only.

If people move between countries or institutions, it is currently impossible or difficult to safeguard a reasonable second pillar pension for after their career has ended.

RESAVER is the first real pan-European pension fund for mobile researchers – that means the pension contributions stay with the individual no matter where they work. And at the end of their career, people have to deal with only ONE pension fund, which pays the second pillar pension to the place where the person has retired.

2. What are the most common questions from researchers about pensions?

Usually younger researchers do not think about this problem; then when they realise, it is often too late. Currently the main questions are:

  • if there is a second pillar pension at all;
  • if they can carry it with them if moving jobs;
  • if they could have it as a lump sum;
  • what the situation is in a particular country in which they intend to work.

3. Do you think that researchers are well-informed about their pension rights?

No, researchers are intrinsically motivated, so pensions and money in general are not major issues. In general I think they are not well informed.

4. Could you describe RESAVER? Who can apply?

RESAVER is the first pan-European pension fund for people working in institutions in which research is a major field of operation. Only institutions can apply and join - not individuals.

These institutions can be big organisations in industry, SMEs, universities or dedicated research institutions. RESAVER is a defined contribution scheme and absolute state-of-the-art pension fund.


The member institution pays a certain amount of money as a pension contribution for the individual, who – depending on the local regulations – may also pay into the fund. The contributions are accumulated in a dedicated account, and at the end of the career, the researcher receives a second pillar pension in addition to the state pension. This will provide, on average, a decent income in this later stage of an individual’s life.


Institutions must first join the Consortium – as the preparation institution – and then later the IORP – the pension fund.

5. Which countries are participating?

RESAVER will cover the European Research Area as a whole.


But to begin with, for legal reasons, and as many countries cannot immediately change the way in which their pension system is set up, the following countries are involved: Italy, Hungary, Austria and the Netherlands. As observing members, there are currently around 200 institutions in a waiting loop, and in the course of 2017 we expect that Ireland, some Scandinavian countries and maybe UK institutions will join.

A lot of institutions are currently carrying out feasibility studies.

6. Tell us about the RESAVER pension fund.

The pension fund is set up in Belgium and will be available for all institutions in the European Research Area (ERA). It is run under the OFP legal scheme, as established in Belgian legislation and is closely follows European legislation.

Participating institutions form the general assembly, which elects the Board of Directors, with whom we have a group of service providers:

  • membership administration and information will be managed by PREVINET, a cross border specialist company;
  • asset management will be in the hands of BlackRock.

7. Tell us about RESAVER insurance.

RESAVER has to respect the social legislation within the various countries, and there are countries where pension funds are not common. Additionally, there are researchers who have specific contractual arrangements that do not allow for second pillar coverage.

For these people, the option of an insurance package – under the umbrella of RESAVER -- will be developed. The main preparatory steps have been completed, but the final packages will follow in the course of 2017.

8. Why should an organisation join RESAVER?

Research and innovation are definitively international activities. If organisations wish to be part of global developments and to attract the best researchers, they need to offer the best competitive remuneration packages. The best and indeed only pan-European option for second pillar pensions for research institutions is the RESAVER pension fund.

The more institutions that become members of RESAVER, the more mobile European researchers there will be, and the more the competitiveness and impact of European research will increase.

9. Why is Belgium the home country of RESAVER?

After some assessments and comparisons, Belgium was chosen for legal and governance reasons.

10. Have workshops taken place to present RESAVER?

Yes, many so called Mutual Learning Seminars have been held across Europe and more can be organised if needed. If an organisation is interested in joining it should:

  • see the website www.resaver.eu;
  • follow the Roadmap document;
  • fill out the application form to join – mainly in order to be better prepared and to prepare a data set.

11. What next for RESAVER?

RESAVER as a pan-European pension fund is currently in the beginning phase. All necessary legal preparations and steps have been taken with help and sponsorship from the European Commission and consultant AON. Since the fund is now operational, the focus of activities in 2017-2018 is on advising interested institutions how to join and making sure institutions make use of this unique pension fund.

Given the general interest and the number of observing members right now, the consortium is expected to grow significantly, along with membership of the Institutions for Occupational Retirement Provision Directive (IORP) – the fund itself.