BNP Paribas harmonises perks after Fortis acquisition

BNP Paribas has harmonised its pension contribution structure, life insurance, flexible benefits scheme and holiday arrangements with Fortis Bank, which it acquired in 2008.

When the French bank added Fortis’s 400 staff to its 200,000 global workforce, it took its time to compare the benefits offered by each organisation.

Thomas Hiles, reward consultant at BNP Paribas, said: “We wanted to show we had done the proper due diligence rather than thrust everybody into the BNP Paribas package. There were elements of the Fortis package that were perhaps more generous than our package, so we made changes across both benefits when we moved to one platform.”

Both firms provide trust-based defined contribution (DC) pension plans. Fortis has now adopted BNP Paribas’ pension contribution structure, which is 12% non-contributory. It previously operated a 10% noncontributory structure.

BNP Paribas shares 7% of its national insurance (NI) savings with staff through a salary sacrifice arrangement as a way to encourage pension savings, and this has been extended to Fortis employees. Hiles said: “For every xtra £100 staff put into their pension, we discount that to £93, so the bank puts in the extra £7, and they can benefit from tax and NI savings on that £93.”

Fortis staff now have access to life insurance at 12.5-times salary, which is standard at BNP Paribas, an increase from the previous four-times salary at Fortis. Fortis has also introduced its parent company’s flexible benefits scheme for staff. Fortis did have a flex scheme in place, but this had a limited choice.

A number of BNP Paribas’ employer-paid benefits have also been extended to Fortis staff, including health screening, dental insurance and accident insurance.

It has also harmonised holiday arrangements. Fortis had a variety of arrangements, and BNP had a flat structure regardless of seniority. Hiles said: “We looked at both arrangements and the market. We decided to increase
everyone’s holiday by an average of two days.”

Read more about harmonising benefits post-merger