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Troubled Dutch pension scheme agrees to new governance arrangement

NETHERLANDS - The €1.5bn Dutch pension fund for dentists (SPT) has agreed to a new governance arrangement with occupational association BPVT, the owner of the pension plan.

BPVT, which represents almost all of SPT’s 7,200 participants, said the introduction of a ‘pensions council’ would improve co-decision-making and efficiency.

Peter Czaikowski, chairman of the BPVT, told IPE the council - made up of the BPVT’s board members - would also take on the previous responsibilities of the accountability body, which has been abolished.

Czaikowski said a balance had been created between the board’s autonomy and supervision through a new and permanent supervisory board, which will replace the visitation committee for internal supervision.

The BPVT chairman stressed that the new governance structure complied fully with the new legislation for pension fund governance, and that it enjoyed the support of pensions supervisor De Nederlandsche Bank.

“Co-decision-making and a professional approach have been safeguarded for a long time,” he said.

Last year, opposing views on pension fund governance caused a rift between SPT and BPVT, culminating in BPVT’s sacking of the pension fund’s board.

According to BPVT, in the new set up, it will focus on legal tasks, such as concluding the arrangements for pension provision.

The occupational association will be represented on SPT’s four-members board, consisting of two dentists and two independent experts. Dentist Stan Hoovers will chair the SPT board.

The dentists scheme - a closed pension fund - had a coverage ratio of 94% at December-end, after having applied a rights cut of 10.1% on 1 July last year.

Czaikowski said the pension fund was anticipating a new rights cut of 2-6% next year.

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