NETHERLANDS - The Dutch central bank, which regulates pensions, still isn’t satisfied about the Actuarial Society’s proposals about the independence of actuaries at pension funds and insurers.

De Nederlandsche Bank recently initiated a debate about the separation of advisory and certifying tasks.

The DNB’s discontent is mainly aimed at a proposal from the society, known as the AG, that doesn’t outlaw insurers’ own actuaries from certifying their own employers.

“An internal certifying actuary has an inevitable appearance of dependency. Such a role remains difficult to explain to the public,” Dutch daily Het Financieele Dagblad said, quoting from a ‘non-public’ letter from the DNB.

The bank is worried about the difficulties faced by certifying actuaries. “That’s why certification by an independent external actuary at a parent company is very important to us.”

The DNB even considers AG’s plan of forbidding personal self-assessment as insufficient, because an actuary might be certifying the advice or calculations of colleagues. It reminds the society of its authority of disapproving certifications by insufficient independent actuaries.

AG members are set to discuss the plan at its annual general meeting this Thursday.

The Association of Industry-wide Pension Funds and the Foundation of Company Pension Funds have already spoken out in favour of splitting actuarial tasks.

“Internal actuaries need to be very strong and independent, because they deal with enormous amounts of money,” said Mercer partner Bob Bunicich.

“Apart from the insurers the issue applies in theory to company pension funds and large pension schemes as well.”

Meanwhile, the DNB doesn’t seem to have representative calculations of the effect of the new financial assessment framework, or FTK, on insurers.

A DNB spokesman admitted that only a small number of limited impact studies have been done, after it had emerged that a sector-wide survey will be difficult.

“Finding a comparable line for calculating the liabilities of insurers is hard, because they use their individual margins for market value which depends on their different interest term structures and specific mix. Our FTK tests led to less, instead of better, comparability of the solvency,” said the DNB.

Two weeks ago the DNB announced that the FTK for insurers would be delayed. DNB spokesmen declined to comment on both issues.