About IBIS Academy

The IBIS Academy is the longest-running International HR Conference in the world. Presented by Gallagher and attended by leaders from global companies of all sizes, IBIS empowers benefits and mobility managers to build their skill set, grow their network, and share their knowledge across borders, industries and experience levels.  With three tracks to target the specific demands of various professional roles, IBIS sessions focus on diverse topics from legislative challenges to corporate strategy (benefits, total rewards), governance and culture, communication, engagement and productivity, and wellbeing.

The first IBIS Conference was held in Brussels, Belgium, in 1971...

...at a time when, as IBIS founder Bruce Spencer recalls, "the general public didn't know what a pension was." 46 years later, the IBIS Academy is the most respected and longest-running international conference for global human resources and international employee benefits professionals.

Back in 1971, some 85 employee benefits specialists from the United States, Canada, and most of the western European countries gathered in Brussels to discuss the various trends and practices of the nascent global employee benefits industry. Mr. Spencer said that it "was really a gathering of people who wanted to be part of the discussion and who wanted to share their ideas and opinions on the issues and concerns we were all facing." At that time, there were only six member countries in what was then called the European Community, but they already had problems in coordinating social security benefits for the people in those countries. Annette Bosscher from the European Commission, who was responsible for the coordination, came to the IBIS Conference to explain how the system worked.

Looking back, Mr. Spencer recalls a special meeting held in November of 1989. "Walter Kruijswick, who worked with Jacobs Suchard, took the podium to speak. He looked over the audience, threw away his notes and instead began to speak about what had just occurred the previous night—the fall of the Berlin Wall—and what that meant to the world. Mr. Kruijswick was old enough to have witnessed the Communist takeover from the Second World War on out, and his observations and reflections made for a very memorable experience."

In one of the earlier IBIS Conferences, Mr. Spencer and his partners introduced a training session for human resource executives who were just starting to be involved with employee benefits. That session grew into what is now known as the IBIS Institute, a five-day program designed for the training and certification of employee benefits specialists. Recalling the first IBIS Institute, Mr. Spencer remembers: "It was in London, and I remember the hotel had lost all heat in the meeting room and we were all sitting there freezing to death in January. They brought these huge heating fans into a ballroom even though there were only 25 or 30 people there. And while it was not exactly the best of circumstances, we all stuck with it."

Richard Polak, a 30+ year specialist in international benefits who founded his own international HR consulting firm some 15 years ago, acquired IBIS (International Benefits Information Service) in 2003 and with it the IBIS Conference and IBIS Institute. Believing that experienced human resource executives and those just starting out in the global employee benefits field could benefit from interacting with one another, Mr. Polak brought the IBIS Conference and the IBIS Institute together into one meeting, renamed the IBIS Academy, in Paris in 2007. In 2012, IBIS was acquired by Arthur J. Gallagher, & Co., and with its enthusiastic support, the tradition continues.

Through the years, the IBIS Academy has remained the most respected and longest-running international conference for global human resources and international employee benefits professionals, and a new resource for global mobility executives. The three tracks of the IBIS Academy promote industry growth and provide multinationals with knowledge and resources on international pensions and employee benefits in markets around the world, and up-to-date information on global mobility trends, offering unrivaled learning opportunities and an invigorating symposium experience. Delegates from around the globe attend the Academy, including the American Benefits Council, which has held its Global Benefits Committee meeting at IBIS Academy each year since 2009.

2018 Berlin, Germany 1994 Salzburg, Austria
2017 Cannes, France 1993 Athens, Greece
2016 Amsterdam, Netherlands 1992 Dublin, Ireland
2015 Bristol, England 1991 The Hague, Netherlands
2014 St. Petersburg, Russia 1990 Flims, Switzerland
2013 Prague, Czech Republic 1989 Bologna, Italy
2012 Edinburgh, Scotland 1988 Cannes, France
2011 Vienna, Austria 1987 Cascais, Portugal
2010 Lisbon, Portugal 1986 Brighton, England
2009 Madrid, Spain 1985 Oslo, Norway
2008 Dublin, Ireland 1984 Flims, Switzerland
2007 Paris, France 1983 Brussels, Belgium
2006 Berlin, Germany 1982 Madrid, Spain
2005 Budapest, Hungary 1981 Hamburg, Germany
2004 Antwerp, Belgium 1980 Toronto, Canada
2003 Copenhagen, Denmark 1979 Monte Carlo
2002 Prague, Czech Republic 1978 Copenhagen, Denmark
2001 Edinburgh, Scotland 1977 London, England
2000 Cascais, Portugal 1976 Zurich, Switzerland
1999 Stockholm, Sweden 1975 Brussels, Belgium
1998 Budapest, Hungary 1974 San Francisco, USA
1997 Sophia Antipolis, France 1973 Rotterdam, Netherlands
1996 Helsinki, Finland 1972 Barcelona, Spain
1995 Barcelona, Spain 1971 Brussels, Belgium