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Dutch civil service pension fund ABP to miss governance deadline

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The €300bn civil service pension fund ABP is unlikely to have all new governance arrangements in place by 1 July, when the new governance legislation must be fully implemented. 

Dutch pension funds must also submit the names of the members of various new bodies, as well as adjusted articles of association, to supervisor De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) by 1 April.

Speaking with IPE sister publication IPNederland, José Meijer, ABP’s vice-chair, conceded the fund would be unable to meet this deadline.

“We have just started the search for the five members of the new supervisory board (RvT),” she said.

“Currently, there are elections for the new accountibility body (VO), and the outcome won’t be clear before 11 April.

“Only after the VO members have been elected can the pensioners’ representatives for the board be nominated.”

Meijer admitted she did not know how the new rules would work in practice, but she said she was convinced they would bring “big changes”.

Under the new set-up, pensioners will make up one-quarter of the 12-strong board, and the new and powerful RvT will be authorised to sack board members.

The current three bodies are to merge into a single body, the VO, with 32 representatives of workers and pensioners, to be elected by ABP’s 2.3m participants.

ABP said it was anticipating a turnout of 15%.

Meijer said: “We are trying to raise awareness via all possible avenues, not only through our website but also through our ABP magazine and newsletter.”

The VO also has employers’ representatives.

“As a pension is postponed salary, it is a matter of the social partners, and we want this to be reflected as well in the governance structure of our pension fund,” the vice-chair said.

ABP has opted for a board model of equal representation, which is at odds with pensioners on the board.

“If pensioners are represented, shouldn’t this go for young participants as well, or for women, partly disabled workers or for other lobby groups?” Meijer asked.

“This is a tricky issue for which the new governance legislation doesn’t provide an answer.”

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