Bonum Certa Men Certa

The Pension Money That EPO Employees Might Never See

posted by Roy Schestowitz on Jan 03, 2024,
updated Jan 03, 2024

Back to EPO...

Jan Boulanger: In your letter dated 25 May 2023 regarding the inward transfer of pension rights from the UK, you are raising several practical questions. Please find our answers outlined below.

THE EPO situation is being revisited (covered again) this month and yesterday we covered the lack of incentive to work hard. The management was dismantling the career system, which had historically been necessary to attract and retain high-calibre scientists (as examiners). The outcome, as one may predict, is loads of patent monopolies that should never have been allowed, including software patents, which ought not exist.

Yesterday we also relayed an old statement about the EPC (foundations of the EPO) turning 50. This establishment deteriorates rapidly and the media - what's left of it at least - no longer talks about it or very rarely talks about the issues.

Back in May the EPO's staff inquired about the pensions, perhaps irritated that they - or some portion of them - were outside the EU and inside the same system that had me and my colleague defrauded (I uncovered this around the same time). It was also around that time, or maybe a month earlier, that we kept discussing the pension system in the UK being in disarray and nobody held accountable for pension fraud. Even my MP was rebuffed and the municipality of London (a former large client) did not do anything about this matter. To them, perhaps (or so it would seem), pension fraud wasn't a big deal. Seeing how rampant corruption has been at the EPO (Benoît Battistelli and his friend António Campinos leveraged immunity to commit white-collar crimes), it would make staff more likely to be sceptical and wary. See "EPO May be Financially Defrauding the Public and Its Employees" (2019).

This past October the Central Staff Committee of the EPO wrote about "Inward transfer of pension rights from the United Kingdom," showing a "Reply from the administration" of the EPO. To quote:

Dear colleagues,

In a past publication we informed you about an open letter in which we sought the administration’s assistance in clarifying the status of the possibility of transferring pension rights from the United Kingdom.

During the summer we received a letter of reply. We thank the administration for their assistance.

The core part of it is a two-page letter from an administration that crushes the staff:

European Patent Office

80298 Munich

Germany


HR Essential Services

Jan Boulanger

Tel. +49 (0)89 2399 - 4320

jboulanger@epo.org

Date: 20.07.2023


European Patent Office

Bob-van-Benthem-Platz 1

80469 Munich

Germany

epo.org


European Patent Office | 80298 MUNICH | GERMANY

Central Staff Committee

European Patent Office

80298 Munich

Germany

centralSTCOM@epo.org


Your letter dated 25 May 2023 with reference sc23062cl

Dear Mr Chair,

In your letter dated 25 May 2023 regarding the inward transfer of pension rights from the UK, you are raising several practical questions. Please find our answers outlined below.

The new pension scheme of the EPO allows transferring pension rights accrued under another pension scheme, provided that this scheme allows such transfer (Article 12 Old and New Pension Scheme).

The Office has never concluded a written agreement for transferring pension rights with the UK. For transferring UK pension rights without exit taxation towards overseas pension providers such as the new pension scheme of the EPO, these schemes need to fulfil certain conditions and self-register with His Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC). For non-qualifying schemes, HMRC imposes at least 40% exit tax before the pension transfer, making it less attractive.

The EPO was registered as Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS) up to April 2015. Because of doubts surrounding the compatibility of our scheme’s severance grant provision and minimum retirement age, the Office did not continue its QROPS status between 2015 and 2019. Despite the EPO not being QROPS within the said period, the possibility to request a transfer under the statutory deadlines continued to exist. Indeed, three staff requested UK transfers during 2015-2018 which could however not be completed at the time, but have since then been re-launched.

In August 2019 the EPO registered anew as QROPS following changes in UK legislation regarding schemes of international organisations. This


registration does not differentiate transfers from both UK pension pillars: the UK state pension and private pensions. It is however to be noted that the EPO never received any funds from the UK state pension (so called first pillar).

From 2019 to date, the Office received fifteen new requests from staff members to transfer their pension rights from the UK. For completeness, the three previous cases of inward transfers from private pension funds were completed, while several others are pending with various UK pension funds. The reasons for the delays and lacking decisions of the funds were not communicated to the Office.

Since August 2019, newcomers have been informed of the possibility to request a transfer of pension rights from the UK (via their introduction session during onboarding). The possibility of UK transfer is also mentioned in the new Intranet, along with information regarding the other countries.

In view of allowing other colleagues to consolidate their pension rights, the Office is also exploring re-opening a transitional period of 6 months for staff whose appointment was confirmed between 2015 and August 2019.

I trust the above clarifies the matter.

Yours sincerely,

Jan Boulanger

Director

Digitally signed by Signature Jan

Date: 2023.07.20

11:35:25 +02'00'

Well, having spent over a year scrutinising UK pensions, even on the phone for many hours, it just seems like more of the same. They'd do anything to prevent you taking out any of the money and in some cases you'll never even see the money. They use people's hard-earned money for gambling on the stock market, inflating valuations of companies (making worthless companies that cannot make a profit seem like giants, i.e. a total bubble).

Pay attention to this part: "From 2019 to date, the Office received fifteen new requests from staff members to transfer their pension rights from the UK. For completeness, the three previous cases of inward transfers from private pension funds were completed, while several others are pending with various UK pension funds. The reasons for the delays and lacking decisions of the funds were not communicated to the Office."

This is so typical. When I studied internal reports of pension funds I saw many allusions and references to "war in Ukraine" and "COVID-19". Be sure if that if they refuse to pay out they'll have all the "politically-correct" excuses ready. When you look beyond brochures and Web sites you start to understand just how rogue some of these 'outfits' are; they only exist to play or game the market with other people's money (in essence borrowing from the future). They reckon they can get away with it until some date in the distant future. And it's almost impossible to withdraw the money, even if you pay the taxes, as they have all sorts of escalation routines to prevent you doing so. They even call the "big bosses" just to ensure you do not or cannot withdraw anything. They try to tire people down, assuming that mental fatigue will keep the money in the "Ponzi pot".

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