The Association of International Agricultural Research Centers (AIARC) supports the Centers’ mission of eliminating world hunger by providing administrative services to the Centers. Says AIARC President and CEO, Jeffrey Hungate, “we pool and leverage these Centers’ resources to negotiate for products and services that a Center would not able to get on its own.”
For example, Hungate seeks to provide a suitable retirement for 2500 highly skilled scientists from more than 80 nations working tirelessly to eradicate the scourge of malnutrition and starvation. These scientists frequently work on contracts from three to five years, moving around the world to different Centers or other organizations as needed to further their work.
Retirement? Could become difficult for a global nomad
Demographic changes have made many pension systems in both developed and emerging countries struggle to provide retirement income for growing numbers of pensioners. Still, these researchers face a more personal challenge: How do you save for retirement utopia when you live as a global “nomad”? How can you save when you are not located within one national retirement system or, indeed, when you live in countries that have no retirement systems at all?
AIARC provides a pragmatic solution that meets the diverse needs of members throughout the world. In 1992, AIARC’s Board of Directors established the IARC Retirement Plan Trustee to provide a retirement savings vehicle for the employees of the various Centers. In 2013, AIARC partnered with AllianzGI to allow plan members to choose their own investments that fit their personal circumstances. The research Centers contribute 15 percent of an employee’s salary, while employees may contribute up to 100 percent of their salary. Approximately 350 Million US dollar is currently held with the trustee.
"Our plan members are highly educated scientists. They are all passionate about their profession. Unfortunately, many devote all of their time to research and put off thinking about retirement until it is too late. We had a need for professional fund management, where members didn’t have to worry about diversifying or reallocating their funds on their own. They are just too busy saving the world," says Hungate. "With the introduction of the AllianzGI LifeCycle Concept, we found a convenient way to help our plan members harness risk while they still have the time to do so and to automatically adjust their risk return profile appropriately as they age. If a member’s personal circumstance changes and he or she intends to work longer — or retire earlier — the concept adapts to that goal at the click of a button in the web-based retirement tool."
But how do you communicate the benefits of such a plan? Usually, a campaign involving a mix of town hall meetings, e-mails or brochures would serve to capture attention in a company. AIARC doesn’t have the luxury of an audience so easily reached. Its members are scattered in remote duty posts ranging from Nigeria to the Philippines.