A unit of German private bank Metzler is in the process of setting up a Pensionsfonds geared towards implementing the new “defined ambition” pension plans that have been made possible under this year’s major reform law in Germany.Other providers have also been positioning themselves to run such plans, although it is still unclear when – and perhaps even whether – they will be introduced.Speaking at the annual conference of Germany’s occupational pension association in Berlin earlier this month, Christian Remke, head of Metzler Pension Management, said could take some time before the first plan emerged.“We’ll see something by the end of 2019,” he said. Heribert KarchHeribert Karch, chairman of the German pension industry association aba, had earlier delivered an impassioned plea to the country’s employer representatives and trade unions to make the most of the new opportunities presented to them by the pension reform.“Many people have placed their hopes in you,” he said.He urged employers to use their new powers to get involved in what was a new phase of pension design as otherwise the state would intervene. Trade unions, meanwhile, should not be like “a rabbit staring at a snake” by focusing on the question of employers’ liability.The new pension plans were a responsible form of contribution-based scheme that was “completely different” from what was internationally known as defined contribution, said Karch.Trade unions should focus on the unprecedented opportunity to take part in the country’s productive wealth.“Use aba, use this opportunity – that is my appeal to you, the social partners,” he said.The pension reform law that came into effect in January – known as BRSG in German – for the first time allows occupational pension plans without guarantees, which would free employers from the obligation to top up plans. The defined ambition plans can only be established by employer associations and trade unions – the social partners. Metzler has a Pensionsfonds that it set up in 2014, but has but decided it was important to establish a separate fund for the new social partner model, according to Remke. This was for several reasons, including providing clear separation of assets, risk management, and digitalisation needs, he said.Metzler had hoped to have already completed the licencing process for the new Pensionsfonds, but it had underestimated how complex this would be, Remke added.It first informed the regulator, BaFin, of its plans last October, assuming the process would take three to six months. Its next meeting with the regulator is on 16 May.The new Pensionsfonds is being set up by Metzler Pension Management, which was recently spun out from Metzler Asset Management as a separate company.‘An unprecedented opportunity’
Despite being the preferred option for responsible ship recycling when compared to South Asia’s shipbreaking yards, Turkey’s Aliaga-based breaking yards still face considerable challenges including high accident rate.Furthermore, there is a low level of awareness of occupational diseases at the Aliaga yards, according to NGO Shipbreaking Platform.“NGOs and local labour rights groups, including Platform partner Istanbul Health and Safety Labour Watch (IHSLW), are concerned about the high accident rate and the low awareness of occupational diseases at the Aliaga yards. As in South Asia, trade union organisation remains weak in Aliaga,” the platform said.What is more, as explained by the NGO, the landing method which is used in Turkey “also poses environmental challenges as the risk of slag and paint chips falling into the water is high.”However, the platform pointed out that through engagement with NGOs and labour rights groups, the Turkish Ship Recyclers Association remains attentive to constantly improving the industry practice.To that end, several of the yards in Aliaga have applied to be on the upcoming EU list of approved ship recycling facilities. “In order to make it on the EU list, the yards will be subject to critical assessment of their environmental and social performance,” the platform added.In 2016, Turkey dismantled 92 ships, including several drill ships and platforms. In comparison to South Asia, Turkey dismantles smaller vessels, many of them either EU-owned or EU-flagged. Aliaga is also a preferred destination for EU navy vessels, the platform’s data shows.