NETHERLANDS - SNPF, the €1bn pension fund for notaries in the Netherlands, has set up a 'pensions council' as the focal point of its new board and governance structure.

Consisting of 10-20 active participants and pensioners, the council will be responsible for pension arrangements, the SNPF said.

The new council will also assess the functioning of the board and appoint members of the oversight body.

The new governance structure will also include a supervisory board of three external experts that will act as a 'permanent visitation committee', the SNPF said.

The scheme will reduce the number of board members from seven to five and move the role of UNP - its exclusive pension provider to date - into the SNPF's pension bureau.

The changes will be implemented next year, according to Gijs Alferink, chairman of the pension fund.

"We have looked for a structure that allows the professional group to play an active role," Alferink said. "The notaries in particular are capable of shaping their own pension plan."

Last year, the SNPF's supervisors - then consisting of the scheme's non-executive board members - recommended dropping the distinction between executive and non-executive board members, and introducing a visitation or audit committee for future internal supervision.

Their advice came after they concluded the executive board had been too slow, lost its initiative and leaned too heavily on its pension provider UNP.

Meanwhile, Max Muntinga, director at UNP, warned that the pension fund might need to carry out a second round of benefit cuts in 2013.

In the scheme's newsletter, Muntinga said a further discount - after an initial cut of almost 2% last January - was probably inevitable if its financial position failed to improve next year.

The pension fund's recovery plan aims for a coverage ratio of 97.6% at year-end, but the funding had already dropped to just over 90% in August.

Muntinga said he did not think the mapped out recovery plan would be achieved.