A court has forced the €424bn asset manager APG to pay former board member Adri van der Wurff an initially agreed severance payment of €1.1m.
The court ruling came after APG’s supervisory board (RvC) back-tracked on an agreement from early 2014, in order to moderate the severance payment in Van der Wurff’s employment contract, according to APG spokesman Hans ten Brinke.
He said the RvC unilaterally changed its initial decision after the passage of new legislation on remuneration policy at financial companies (Wbfo) in the Netherlands.
The Wbfo came into force on 1 January, limiting golden handshakes to a single year’s salary.
“Given current circumstances, with, for example, hardly any perspective for indexation following the stricter rules of the new financial assessment framework, the RvC deemed the agreed severance payment no longer reasonable,” APG’s spokesman said.
“Therefore, it limited the amount to €506,000, including a compensation for pension rights Van der Wurff would have missed.”
In its annual report, APG’s board said the severance payment consisted of more than €250,000 for redundancy and more than €256,000 for pension loss, adding that the sum of these amounts equated to a year’s salary.
According to the Wbfo, the cap on a golden handshake applies to all financial enterprises but not to pension funds.
APG is the asset manager and provider for the €373bn civil service scheme ABP.
Van der Wurff could not be contacted by IPE for comment.
However, Dutch broadcaster RTLNieuws, which broke the news, said he had confirmed the facts of the story.
Van der Wurff served as executive chairman at Cordares – the provider for BpfBOUW, the industry-wide scheme for the Dutch building sector.
Cordares joined APG and was fully integrated into it in 2012.
From then, Van der Wurff subsequently served as chief operational officer, chief client officer and board adviser at APG.
Both parties agreed his departure was the result of “differing opinions about policy”, as well as personal reasons.
In 2007, the severance payment of Joep Schouten, Van der Wurff’s predecessor at Cordares, also raised eyebrows.
Schouten, who was 59 at the time, decided to hold on to the financial package – agreed in 1994, at the start of his chairmanship – of a full salary until his official retirement at 65, as well as early retirement benefits, despite having been asked by the RvC to “considerably limit” the financial arrangements.
As a result, delegates of the Dutch pensions sector, including union representatives, boycotted Schouten’s departure reception.