NETHERLANDS - The three Dutch pension associations have asked Social Affairs minister Aart Jan de Geus to introduce the principles for pension fund governance and the participation covenant as of January 1 2008, as initially agreed.

The groups - the Association of Industry-wide Pension Funds VB, the Foundation for Company Pension Funds OPF, and the Association of Occupational Pension Funds UvB - want de Geus to stick to earlier agreements, they stated in a joint position paper.

"Unnecessary legal measures in the transitional legislation for the Pension Act threaten to disturb the process of self-regulation," they added.

Minister De Geus had indicated that he wants to introduce the governance principles already as of January 1 2007.

However, the pension associations stressed that this isn't in line with the agreement with the Labour Foundation Star and the umbrella group for the elderly organisations CSO.

"We have emphatically chosen for a limited, but feasible implementation period till January 1 2008. The minister's proposal is unrealistic and will be practically impossible to implement," they claim.

Similarly, the three organisations also want the minister to forsake on his plan to introduce the participation covenant for pension funds already as of January 1 2007.

"The parties involved should get the opportunity to attune the introduction of the principles and the covenant, to they can make a simultaneous evaluation," they explained.