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Aon Empower Results
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Aon International Retirement Monthly Newsletter – May/June 2020

Here is our international events and thought leadership newsletter for May and June 2020. We have made this a bumper double issue, as we expect your email inbox has been inundated with lots of other material in recent weeks.

This month, we focus on six key areas: global retirement plans amid COVID-19; DB funding and investment; DC and financial wellbeing; upcoming webinars; other surveys and thought leadership; and recent podcasts and webinar recordings. Our next international retirement webinar will be on 30 June/1 July and cover developments and hot topics on Swiss pensions. This follows on from recent webinars on Netherlands and Singapore.

Meanwhile, please do let us know of any feedback or what you'd like to hear more of.

From Colin Haines, Partner, International Retirement & Investment


Global DC and DB Plan Flexibility in the Crisis

We have combined research from fifty countries worldwide to understand which countries are currently providing options to flex DC and DB retirement plans, to allow employers to defer or mitigate costs, and for employees to improve their cashflow by temporarily reducing their contributions or draw from plan assets at times of severe financial hardship. Click here for Defined Contribution insights and here for Defined Benefit insights.

Decision Making in Complex and Volatile Times

Aon's global white paper has been designed clients help better risk management and business decisions through the coming waves of COVID-19; to connect their top business priorities to the React & Respond, Recover and Reshape stages (Aon’s “4R” model); and understand how Aon’s data-driven solutions can help them make more informed decisions through this complex and volatile time.


Global Risk Settlement

Last edition, we highlighted our UK and US risk settlement market reviews. Our UK Risk Settlement practice has just issued its Q2 bulletin with more insight into bulk annuity costs, and impacts on funding levels – plus insight into US, Canadian and Dutch bulk annuity activity.

2019 Global Pension Risk Survey

We now have a single, interactive webpage hosting all the country/regional findings from the Global Pension Risk Survey, where you can drill down by country or region. Copies of all the surveys are also available here.

UK and US Funding

UK – The UK Pensions Regulator has published its Annual Funding Statement. It stresses the need for trustees and employers in this position to work collaboratively. Trustees will need to investigate the full range of possible support for their pension schemes. Employers should anticipate such requests from trustees and consider what alternative forms of support the company is able to offer. Read further insights here.

US - We’re excited to share the first in a new series of Aon Retirement videos on various topics of interest to plan sponsors. These short videos will take no more than 5–10 minutes to watch, and provide insights on issues that sponsors should be considering and how Aon can help. In this first video here, Aon’s U.S. Retirement Chief Actuary, Eric Keener, summarises the limited pension funding relief provided in the CARES Act and additional proposed relief in the HEROES Act and discusses considerations for plan sponsors and how Aon can help.

Investment: Volatility in Global Markets

Aon's global asset allocation team continue to commentate on key issues relating to the economy and markets. Areas of recent focus include: Negative interest rates, equities, oil prices, credit spreads, US Dollar outlook.. Global Asset Allocation expert Tapan Datta also shared views on the economic impact of the pandemic in this short podcast, What Damage is Coronavirus Doing to the UK and Global Economies?

You can also hear Tapan speak at the next International Employee Benefits Association (IEBA) webinar on 2 July (5:00 pm London) – “Returning to the New Normal: What this means for asset markets globally and plan sponsors/members” – click here for details.

The investment team has also developed five capital market scenarios for how the COVID-19 pandemic may progress from here, including the potential impacts on major asset classes. These scenarios can be used with companies to help demonstrate the potential range of outcomes of the current environment and frame risk/return trade-offs under certain conditions. Contact us for more information on these scenarios including how they can be applied to your retirement plans and projections around the world.

We share our thoughts in our April 2020 Quarterly Investment Outlook here; and Aon’s latest on the COVID-19 investment market outlook can be found here.



Our Dutch and German practices have published reports based on local surveys capturing information on readiness for retirement, member behaviours and member communications. Click here for the full Dutch report (in English); also click here for a useful summary on trends and here for the German summary report (in English).


According to Aon’s latest pulse survey, protecting employees in terms of ensuring their welfare, health and safety emerged as the top priority for 89% of the companies in Singapore. There is an increased and meaningful focus by employers in supporting employees’ financial wellbeing and retirement readiness, ultimately adding value to organisations through improved performance. Take part in Aon's 2020 Financial Wellbeing and Retirement Study —Singapore (deadline: 30 June).


Our full report from Aon’s 2020 Defined Contribution U.S. Employer Survey is now available. The survey explores U.S. employers’ priorities and governance efforts, as well as their plans to improve employee retirement outcomes. HR managers, fiduciaries, finance officers, and other professionals – across a wide range of industries and plan sizes – provided us with their views on top objectives, future challenges, and employee financial wellbeing.

In new Aon US thought leadership, Retirement Readiness During Times of Instability, we share insights into retirement readiness for various employee population segments given the impact of market losses, high unemployment and reduced wages on retirement account balances and savings behaviours during the COVID-19 pandemic.


International Hot Topics Webinars:

Register for Aon's forthcoming International Retirement webinars via the links below:

Canada: Employee Retirement Readiness and Capital Accumulation Plans

On 23 June (1:00 pm Chicago; 2:00 pm Toronto/New York, 7pm London), Aon Canada host a webinar as the first generation of Capital Accumulation Plan members prepare to retire. Already, employers faced the challenge of balancing costs while trying to do what is best for employees' retirement savings – now, they face further complexity because of COVID-19. The webinar provides tools and strategies to evaluate and improve the retirement readiness of your workforce.

US: Pooled Employer Plans and OCIO

We know that in the current environment clients are looking towards their retirement and investment consultants for guidance and with questions on the range of support available to them. On 24 June (10:00 am Chicago, 11:00 am New York, 4:00 pm London), Byron Beebe, Rick Jones, Barb Hogg, and Ed Bardowski will provide an update on the concept of the PEP and what Aon has been doing since the passing of SECURE earlier this year. They will also touch briefly on the evolution of OCIO and delegated solutions to show clients the range of how Aon can help evaluate critical functions during this time. Click here for more details.

DC and Financial Wellbeing Conference

Aon's UK team is running a virtual DC & Financial Wellbeing conference over a three-week period from 25 June to 8 July. A number of guest speakers have been lined up including David Farrar (Climate Governance and ESG, Department for Work and Pensions) and Stephen Barnett (Director of Global Compensation, Brambles). Register here.


Japan: Employee Benefit Study – live

This comprehensive survey will cover 37 types of employee benefits provided by multinational companies, and is currently open for participation. All participants will receive an executive summary of findings. Click here for details.

Switzerland: Annual Survey of 2019 Accounting Assumptions

Click here to find our overview of the results of Aon Switzerland's annual survey of accounting assumptions used at 2019 year-end in accordance with ASC 715, IAS 19 or IPSAS 39. The results may be useful when setting preliminary assumptions for 2020 year-end and budgets for 2021.

Canada: Capital Accumulation Plans Employers Survey; Rebalancing

We are pleased to present summary findings from our 2020 survey, Driving Workplace Retirement Savings Success, in which we aimed to understand employers' priorities and governance efforts, as well as their strategies to improve retirement outcomes.

International Pension Plan – Resilience Survey

Many thanks to those who participated in this survey. We are collating the results and our findings and will contact participants in June. If you did not manage to participate but would like to receive details when available, please let us know.


Click the links to download Aon's recent international retirement webinars on France, Netherlands, Poland and Singapore.

Aon presented from a Canadian perspective on the Implications of COVID-19 on pension plans and practical solutions for sponsors – click here to watch the replay.

Don't forget to subscribe to Aon's retirement podcast channel! Recent podcasts include the impact of COVID-19 on DC members; risk settlement options for 2020; and investment market updates. You can also access the UK 2020 Pensions Conference series and other UK webinars online here on the Aon UK Events page, with playbacks of past sessions and the chance to register for further events of interest.

The Aon Public Affairs podcast is a weekly video podcast on the COVID-19 pandemic and related government legislation, regulation, and policies. In this latest instalment, Aon US Senior Partner Rick discusses the SECURE Act, the CARES Act, and the Aon Pooled Employer Plan (PEP), including how Aon has been working with clients during the crisis. This 11-minute podcast can be viewed using this link, and you may also be interested in joining the 24 June webinar in the Upcoming Webinars section.

Other video podcasts can be found on Aon's YouTube channel.


Visit the Retirement and Investment Solutions page for more insights.

If you'd like to receive any of our previous newsletters, please contact us.