NEW YORK - Multinational companies are finding pension costs to be a big expense, according to a survey by William M. Mercer Inc.
In the study, 40% of respondents cite concerns over excessive/uncontrolled costs as a top challenge. Thirty-one percent cite headquarters' desire for more information, while 29% identified the need to provide appropriate benefits levels for retirees.
The decline of social security programs in many of the countries in which respondents operate was cited by 23%, while 21% mentioned the need to optimize pension fund returns.
A number of respondents also cited such challenges as adding greater portability to pension benefits and meeting the particular retirement needs of expatriates. The survey found multinationals increasingly are seeking greater centralized management of their retirement plans.
World market indexes
fall in August
NEW YORK - World markets slid in August, as the returns on three indexes shows.
The Morgan Stanley Capital International World Index fell 6.8% in dollar terms for the month, while the MSCI Europe Australasia Far East index declined 7.6% and the MSCI Emerging Markets Free Index dropped 12.8%.
MSCI cited interest rate concerns and currency weakness as factors that pressured markets worldwide. Among developed markets, only Norway's registered a gain - and that was only 0.3%. Emerging markets saw gains in the markets of the Czech Republic, which was up 11.2%; Poland, up 10.5%; China free and Egypt, both up 5.9%; Colombia, 5.2%; and Morocco, 3.5%.
However, renewed currency speculation in the countries of Southeast Asia helped force up local interest rates and pummel local stock markets.
UBS names Sigg
global management chief
ZURICH, Switzerland - Union Bank of Switzerland has appointed Daniel H. Sigg as head of global institutional asset management Mr. Sigg formerly was chief financial officer and executive director of BEA Associates, New York, where his duties have been redistributed among staff.