Award underpins role of providing quality retirement
One of the commendations that PGGM received from the judges was on its move to provide a defined contribution product PGGM Extra Pension(PEP) alongside its main defined benefit scheme. “Greater individualisation and flexibility are not in conflict with solidarity.” The move was seen as an innovative step.
At the fund itself, one of the giants of the Dutch pensions industry, being given an award for the fund entry devoted to PEP, was a confirmation that it had indeed come up with something different. “It is very important for funds like ours to have an evaluation of the things we are doing, particularly as we want to be seen as an innovative organisation,” says Kees Verhagen of PGGM. Things are changing very fast in pension terms at present and it is part of the fund’s mission statement to develop such products. “Our challenge is to provide our members with good quality retirement and PEP is a method tailor-made for this, by complementing the collective scheme.”
The award is important at an organisational level, he reckons. “It will be very motivational for all those who are involved with PEP. They have worked very hard for two years to develop the product and now it is attracting interest.” That there is outside interest in PEP is very helpful in PGGM’s view. “This is very positive for our organisation.”
The value of receiving an award of this nature in terms of being a prominent industry player, Verhagen rates very highly. “This really encourages us to innovative and to be sensitive to the needs of the environment in which we operate. We have to respond to the signals we obtain from society and there are stronger demands for greater individualisation and more flexibility generally. So for pension funds it is essential to develop products that have these features.”
As part of a big industry-wide network in the health and welfare sector, the message of the award will be communicated to the different employers in the sector to show them that with the development of PEP, PGGM is “setting a good standard for pension funds, by having an outside evaluation for the product. It shows that we are an innovative organisation. So here the IPE Award has a very definite meaning.”