Occupational pension schemes in Germany
Inhaltsangabe:Abstract: Based on national legislation and past business practices in Germany, this master thesis / management report illustrates a specific German issue of occupational pension schemes by comparing the example of the Cologne-based German subsidiary of INFICON, the company with which I am employed, against INFICON's other subsidiaries in Liechtenstein and in the US. In the past, it was customary for both national and international companies to provide different kinds of occupational pension schemes for employees as an additional incentive. Unlike US and Swiss companies, German corporations retained the money collected from occupational pension schemes in their companies in order to benefit from these low-cost internal funds instead of investing them in external funds. Rating aspects, the increasing internationalisation of the capital markets and Basel II are forcing INFICON GmbH to reduce its balance sheet by outsourcing pension reserves. Anglo-Saxon dominated rating agencies, in particular, are still extremely critical about pension reserves and treat them as 'real' debt capital. In addition, the EU Regulation 1606/2002 stipulates that as of 2005 all capital market-orientated corporations with registered offices in EU Member States will have to draw up their group statements in accordance with International Accounting Standards. Furthermore, these long-term contracts (occupational pension schemes based on book reserves, Direktzusage) are increasingly imposing a burden on German companies as human life expectancy has constantly been rising, and business growth rates have been decreasing. Moreover, companies were forced to change their policy because of the pressure resulting from the globalisation of fiscal laws for multinational corporations. Approach: It is the objective of this master thesis / management report to identify INFICON's business issues with regard to its pension book reserves in view of the common German business practices of the past and their changes in light of the internationalisation of the capital markets and of current legal requirements in Germany and the EU and to draw up appropriate recommendations. By explaining INFICON's diverse approaches in its subsidiaries in the USA, Liechtenstein and Germany, the unequal treatment of national occupational pension schemes in Germany and in other countries will be demonstrated. For that reason the national retirement systems in Switzerland (which is very similar [...] Peter Schulz, Diplom Physik Ingenieur, MBA Studium der Physik an der Gerhard-Mercator-Universität-GH-Duisburg, Abschluss 1994 Studium "Master of Business Administration, MBA in International Business an der University of East London, UEL in London und Köln, Abschluss 2007. Derzeit tätig als Produktmanager und Key Account Manager im Bereich Vakuummesstechnik und -analysentechnik bei der Fa. INFICON Köln (D), Balzers (FL).
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