NETHERLANDS - Social affairs minister Piet Hein Donner is considering whether to allow professional trustees to sit on Dutch pensions board or even make up the entire board to increase the expertise.

Comprehensive proposals have been unveiled by Donner recommending Dutch pension fund governance be streamlined, along with the rights of participants in the decision-making.

More specifically, he has suggested that in cases where there is a professional pensions board in place, employers, workers and pensioners must be given a say on issues such as contributions, indexation and investment within the governance framework.

However, the minister has proposed that any overlap between the participants' council, the accountability body and the internal supervision be removed by decreasing the number of groups involved in the executive management of a pension fund.

He has also recommended that the internal supervision of each pension fund be strengthened, as the supervisory body does not have the power to make quick judgements on a scheme's risk management or to alter the board's makeup, according to Donner.

"Not all stakeholders have to be involved in all functions," said Donner said, as he noted that having more members representing different groups on a scheme's board will lead to increasingly complicated decision-making.

Earlier lobbying from organisations representing the elderly, women and young workers had also failed to find common ground as to how pension funds boards should manage the representation of social partners.

Although the Labour Foundation (Star) has offered to prepare a covenant of participation in pension funds' bodies, given the urgency of clarity on governance structure, he prefers a legal basis rather than self-regulation, Donner stressed.

The minister has proposed the new governance structure be set in law although he recommended the pensions sector designs an accompanying code of conduct.

Donner said he has also started looking into the quality of supervision where tasks have been contracted-out by pension funds.

The minister also announced legal arrangements which make it mandatory for pension funds to provide relevant data to pensioners' organisations.