Acknowledgement for the hard work in creating a new model
The Fonds de Pension Métal (FPM), Belgium’s sector-wide pension fund for its 150,000 metal industry workers, was delighted to learn that it had won the IPE Award for fund structure and innovation. A number of judges welcome it as the first real moves to establishing industry or sector structures.
“Winning this award means a lot to us,” says Fritz Potemans, adviser to the Brussels-based fund. “When we, the employers’ federation, Agoria, and the trade unions decided to set up a sector-wide pension fund in 1999, the legal framework for sector-side funds in Belgium still didn’t exist. So we were starting out pretty green,” he continues.
“Furthermore, we were also instrumental in convincing the government to introduce a special set of regulations for sector-wide schemes, and as such a new set of laws comes into effect next year,” he adds.
Potemans says winning the award is the perfect acknowledgement of the hard work that went into creating the fund, which had to be done from scratch. “No project of this size or type had been undertaken before, so we had to create everything: investment strategy; administrative procedures; develop IT systems, etc. It took up a lot of time of energy and we are delighted that this has not gone unnoticed by the pension fund community at large,” he comments.
Moreover, the award is added motivation for the team involved in creating FPM to continue its good work. “This concerns not just FPM personnel, but external managers and consultants. And let’s not forget the valuable exposure we will gain,” says Potemans.
Furthermore, Potemans believes the award will help accelerate the development of sector-wide pension funds in Belgium. “What we have achieved in the last few years is already considered a fine example by other industrial sectors who are setting up or at least plan to establish their own schemes. The IPE Award will go a long way to ensure the sector-wide funds quickly become a fully-accepted and important part of second pillar provision in Belgium,” he concludes.