Those involved in drafting the Dutch pension accord cementing the switch to a defined contribution (DC) system are uncertain about the role De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) played in it, a survey conducted by the pension regulator has shown.

The survey researched stakeholders involved in drafting the new pension accord, which was held in the second half of last year, and showed that DNB is sometimes seen to act simultaneously as a regulator, advisor and even policy maker.

The organisations asked to evaluate DNB’s role included all members of the so-called steering group for the pension transition: several ministries, social partners and the Dutch pension federation, Pensioenfederatie.

A DNB spokesperson told IPE it asked these stakeholders “a limited number of questions” to reflect on DNB’s involvement in the pension transition as well as the regulator’s input during meetings on the topic.

According to the survey, members of the steering group are sometimes in the dark about DNBs role during such meetings – it’s not always clear when DNB is talking with its regulator hat on, as it is sometimes also perceived to act as an advisor and even a policy maker.

It’s also unclear to respondents why DNB sometimes refrains from taking a standpoint on some political issues, while it has strong opinions on others.

DNB’s head of supervision Else Bos said DNB indeed acted alternately as regulator and advisor during the discussions about the pension transition.

“Being the regulator we will be responsible for monitoring the new DC pension arrangements and the pension transition, but in the steering group for the implementation of the pension accord we were an advisory member,” said Bos, who added she does not want DNB to ever be a policy maker.

More open

According to the survey, several stakeholders noted DNB has become “more open and less defensive”. Bos said the regulator is now listening better to the pension sector and showing vulnerability too.

“We now share questions with the sector and are actively looking to maintain a dialogue. In the past we were mostly sending and not receiving that much.”

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