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Worried about your future? Alternative pension plan now available

BVI News Staff - Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012 at 10:05 AM

A gathering of members of the BVI Chamber of Commerce and Hotel Association (BVICCHA) observed the signing of a trust deed which gives way for the implementation and establishment of a multi-employer pension plan.

Chairman of the BVICCHA Dr. Birney Harrigan explained that the plan, which helps member companies to meet their labour-mandated employee retirement benefit obligation, has been long in coming.

Dr. Harrigan said there was a lot of confusion following the passage of the new Labour Code in relation to the pension-related section.

Dr. Harrigan said Pension Management Interactive Inc. (PMI), under the leadership of Clarence Faulkner Jr., took the challenge of working on the multi-employer pension plan.

“It took months and was a long and very meticulous process and I am extremely pleased with the outcome… It is a first for the BVI and it is for both BVICCHA members and non-members… In a society we need a safety net for all so that when we are all old we don’t go grovelling to government with our hands out,” she said.

It was stated that PMI entered into the agreement with the BVICCHA to provide advisory and administrative services to the Association, but it was made clear that the overall management of the fund will be done by a board of trustees that comprises Joy Francis, Sally Cox, Jamal Smith, Chad Maduro and Miles Sutherland-Pilch.

Faulkner gave a presentation about the plan and explained how PMI came up with the concept. He told the gathering that his team spent the better part of six to eight months developing the plan that takes into consideration the employee characteristics of the various Association member companies. He said that in the end they recognized that the workforce was transient and that a number of people were not BVIslanders. Faulkner said that the seasonality factor and compensation mechanisms were also taken into consideration. Additionally, Faulkner said similar plans in countries such as Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Bermuda, Bahamas and the Cayman Islands were also considered.

Faulkner also explained that while a company can sign onto the master plan, individually, they still have discretionary authority.

“A company, even though they have agreed to the rules and conditions of the master plan, they now have discretionary authority to determine the contribution rate, the vested schedule for employees and the coverage of the employees,” Faulkner stated.

He stressed that PMI’s role in the plan will remain advisory: “PMI will not be accepting money; PMI does not take money from clients…we facilitate the process by establishing the relevant accounts in the name of the Chamber and the assets are sent directly to the Chamber and managed by a Board of Trustees. PMI only acts as the advisers and the administrators of the system. We believe this is very important because it gives an independent level of due diligence. We stand on the principles that say that anything that is an implied conflict is a conflict.”

Deputy Premier, Minister for Natural Resources and Labour, Hon. Kedrick Pickering praised the plan and explained that Premier and Minister for Finance, Dr. D. Orlando Smith campaigned about the issue of providing pensions for employees; and spoke about the need particularly for a mobile pension scheme that followed employees throughout their work life.

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  1. Observing
    February 23, 2012
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    The pension plan has been recommended by the New Labor Code to be implemented by employers. However, it is not very clear what is meant by a permanent employee.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Boo
    February 22, 2012
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    Congrats CLarence. This is a very good initiative

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