NETHERLANDS - Dutch pension fund Algemene Pensioen Groep (APG) has said it is among the first pension providers in Europe to adopt the new ISAE-3402 standard, which increases the explicit responsibility of its executives.

The switch answers the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board's (IAASB) call for a worldwide standard for assessing the internal management of service organisations.

Over the past decade, APG - the pension provider of the €240bn civil service pension fund ABP - has followed the SAS70 control standard.

According to APG, an important difference between SAS70 and ISAE-3402 is that, with the latter, the provider now explicitly states that it is in control, employing a "solid system for internal management" and risk management matching "good governance principles".

The provider said it preferred a principle-driven approach to a rule-based style, and that it had extended its quality-control department's sphere of activity from operational management to strategy, financial reporting and compliance.

APG said it has also introduced a three-lines-of-defence model, defining roles and responsibilities about implementation and establishing the effectiveness of internal control and the role of internal auditors on internal control.

In a statement, it added: "The standard ISAE-3402 will contribute to further professionalism of internal control at pension providers and meet market demands for honest and controlled management."

A spokesman at APG pointed out that the new standard had already been introduced last year - the correct implementation had now been certified by independent accountant KPMG.