NETHERLANDS – Dutch pensions minister Aart Jan de Geus has defended the delayed financial assessment framework, or FTK, saying it helps to remove the industry’s “secret code”.

He said the Financieel Toetsingskader – which was earlier this week put back for pension funds – would boost transparency at Dutch funds. He alluded to a “secret code” among pension professionals that excluded pensioners.

Speaking at an event organised by catering fund Horeca at its new offices near The Hague yesterday, de Geus stressed the FTK was the result of extensive consultation.

Panelists such as Guss Boender of consulting firm Ortec had questioned whether the consequences of the FTK were thought through.

“I came here to listen,” de Geus told the meeting. “The FTK was in close consultation with social partners and experts and accepted in the second chamber.”

“It has come about with good consultation with all these concerned, so it is closed.” He added: “Pensions are a labour condition, so you need social partners.”

De Geus added that while the FTK is not yet on the statute book it is now not possible to take a different direction.

“The principle of the FTK is fine but it’s very awkward for Shell,” said Shell Pensioenfonds’ CIO Sijb Bartelma. “We can’t sell it when premiums are above 20.”

De Geus officially opened the new building in Zoetermeer, accompanied by dry ice, a laser show and pounding music.