EUROPE – The 144 billion-euro Dutch civil service pension fund Stichting Pensioenfonds ABP has won the Gold Award for best European pension fund at the 2003 IPE Awards.

In total the fund carried off no fewer than five of the trophies, including the IPE Silver Award for European Public Sector Fund of the Year and two ‘themed’ awards for innovation in the fields of SRI and Risk Management.

The scheme also picked up the award for best Dutch pension plan at ceremony in the Amsterdam Convention Factory in front of 467 guests representing around 200 pension funds worth a combined 600 billion euros.

The IPE-Awards judges - a panel of leading European investment professionals – praised ABP for its ability to react quickly and effectively in these turbulent times, as one judge commented: “Despite being the largest and opinion leading European/Dutch pension fund, it acts and moves well in times of change.”

Another judge noted that ABP “arguably has the strongest future potential for European excellence”.

It was a good night for the Dutch in their capital city. The IPE Award for Outstanding Industry Contribution in 2003 went to European Commissioner Frits Bolkestein, a Dutch national. His remit of internal market, taxation and customs union, not only includes the pan-European Pensions Directive, which he championed and brought to fruition earlier this year, but also the tax infringement procedures currently facing non-compliant EU member states.

Sharing the IPE Silver Awards with ABP on the night were the UK’s BT Pension Scheme (BTPS), winner of the award for Corporate Pension Plan of the year, which the judges praised as: “A big private DB pension fund which has to manage a great business with increasing demands and challenges.”

Germany’s MetallRente, the pension fund for employees of the country’s metal and electrical industries, claimed the Silver Award for Industry-Wide Scheme of the year, with the judges haling its position as “A leading pension fund in Germany,” despite the fact that it has only been in operation for two years. “The management of MetallRente looks very sophisticated and deserves an appropriate ranking,” the judges added.

The IPE-Awards Country winners were as follows:

Austria - Victoria-Volksbanken Pensionskassen
Belgium – CPM/VKG Pension Fund
Central Europe - ING Nationale-Nederlanden Poland
Denmark - Industriens Pensionsforsikring A/S
Finland – Ilmarinen
Germany - Vodafone Group Services Limited
France – Total
Ireland – National Pensions Reserve Fund (NPRF)
Italy - Inarcassa
Netherlands – ABP
Spain - Telefonica
Sweden - Länsförsäkringar AB
Switzerland - CERN
UK - London Pensions Fund Authority