International Pensions: Governance Matters

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Global renown as a world-leading jurisdiction for international pensions does not come about by accident.  There are many reasons why the Isle of Man enjoys such a status but, at the heart of it, is the long-standing regulatory and legal framework that has provided security and stability for tens of thousands of retirement savers over many decades.

Strong governance is essential where complexity and risk abound and this is seldom more pertinent than in the long-term, evolving world of retirement planning, especially where an international client base is in play.

The Isle of Man’s core attraction for savers is its multi-layered protective system.

Tax rules determining matters such as the nature and timing of benefits have been in place since the 1970s, and have continually evolved over time with the changing landscape of pensions.  And in 2000, the Island introduced the Retirement Benefits Schemes Act to create a regulatory framework that has remained best of breed amongst international finance centres ever since.

The Isle of Man boasts a two-pronged regulatory approach: 

Firstly, the legislation provides for oversight of the scheme itself and applies that through detailed regulations, covering all aspects of pension administration and management, including:

  • Constitution, trusteeship and management
  • Reporting
  • Books and records
  • Professional adviser standards
  • Annual accounts and independent audit requirements
  • Contribution monitoring
  • Investment matters.

Secondly, there is an approval and monitoring system for professional retirement benefit schemes administrators and trustees, including stringent fitness and propriety criteria for individuals, directors and management.

Isle of Man schemes are also subject to the Isle of Man’s highly sophisticated trust law which, in turn, benefits from well-developed asset protection attributes, also enshrined in law.

This all adds up to an enviable operating environment built with governance, security and stability at its foundation.  Little wonder, then, that employers gravitate towards the Isle of Man when taking responsibility for the long-term financial security of their employees and that individual savers do likewise.


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