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Dutch regulator launches review of pension funds' policies

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De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB), the Dutch regulator, has announced it will survey the policies of all pension funds with more than €5bn in assets. 

In a newsletter, Dagmar van Ravenswaay Claasen, head of pensions supervision, said the watchdog would seek to determine whether these schemes had a “well-thought-out vision”.

She said the regulator expected pension funds to have taken into account new legislation, industry consolidation, changes in companies and sectors and “evolving” ideas about pensions.

Pension funds are also expected to have thought about which pension arrangements they want to run, for which group of participants and companies, and their organisational structure, as well as their emphasis on sustainability, cost-cutting and online access for participants.

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“Our aim is to ensure pension funds seriously consider their risk and opportunities, and that they are pro-active to avoid being caught out by developments,” Van Ravenswaay said.

The regulator said it expected pensions funds to continue to monitor and evaluate their strategies.

A DNB spokesman confirmed that some schemes, having submitted their strategies or “vision” documents, could be invited for follow-up discussions.

He said the survey would not assess pension funds’ investment strategies or their policies for hedging the interest risk on their liabilities.

Responding to DNB’s announcement, a spokeswoman for the Dutch Pensions Federation said the “burden” of surveys conducted by the supervisor had been high “for years”.

She added that the short time frame pension funds had to submit data was “in contrast” with the time it took the regulator to respond to questions posed by the sector.

Pension funds will be required to submit their strategy documents by January 2016.

The Dutch Pensions Federation also argued that the new survey would increase the costs of pensions provision.

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