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Dutch actuaries want further guidance

NETHERLANDS - Dutch actuaries won’t be allowed to check and certify their own work for pension funds and insurers from January 1, the Actuarial Society has decided.

It will ask parliament for further guidance on actuaries’ position.

During a closed meeting the members backed a report about the implementation of independence, writes the Dutch daily Het Financieele Dagblad.

The report was a response to a debate - initiated by the regulator De Nederlandsche Bank - about the separation of advisory and certifying tasks. The regulator relies heavily on non-DNB actuaries for its supervision.

The DNB wasn’t satisfied about the AG’s proposals, because it didn’t outlaw insurers’ own actuaries from certifying their own employers. “An internal certifying actuary has an inevitable appearance of dependency,” it argued.

AG’s newly adopted rules don’t go that far, admitted chairman Roland van den Brink.

“But our plans are already revolutionary. And according to the members they are the minimum”, he stated. “Things are still being discussed with employers and employees within the Labour Foundation.

“We expect more clarity from parliament and the social affairs minister about the position of actuaries, before we take a formal decision in the autumn.”

Ruud Sprenkels, who chaired the AG committee which produced the report, emphasised that “fundamental changes” had taken place.

He said the DNB’s objections about internally certifying are aimed at 80 actuaries. “But based on our present proposals to forbid a personal self-check, about half of all the institutions involved will have their own certifying work to be put out to contract.”

Three of the six largest insurers have internal actuarial offices. A large majority of the 800 pension funds are already working with external certifying actuaries. But AG’s proposals mean that half of all the schemes will need to separate advisory and certifying tasks at personal level.

The AG wants parliament to extend the statutory certification to 750 insurers of damage, credit and care, plus the parent companies of conglomerates. Van den Brink: “It’s time to settle things properly”. He asks for one and a half years extra for a dialogue within the society.

Meanwhile, the Foundation of Company Pension Funds, or OPF, has said the report doesn’t go far enough regarding certifying by internal actuaries. “The position of the internal actuary is per definition not sufficiently independent for a certifying role”.

In the OPF’s opinion the profession should be on its guard against new DNB policy via demands of actuaries who certify pension funds. “The DNB should use the official route, which will allow OPF a say in the discussions.”

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