NETHERLANDS – Dutch industry-wide pension funds are working on a pension fund governance code, along the same lines as the new Tabaksblat corporate governance code.

The Dutch Association of Industry–wide Pension Funds, the VB or Vereniging van Bedrijfstakpensioenfondsen, said: “In imitation of the Tabaksblat code, industry-wide pension funds are working on their own code for Pension Fund Governance.”

It has presented the outlines and principles of its own code at a workshop organized by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment.

“A code that incorporates transparency, accountability, supervision and control is in keeping with the traditions of the VB Transparency Plan (2001), the Industry-wide Information System (BIS) (2003) and the development of the Pension Fund Standard, a quality mark for pension funds.”

The VB formed a working party on the matter chaired by Tabaksblat Committee member Peter de Koning, tasked with writing a code. The group’s broad outline and principles has now been formulated and adopted by the association’s board.

The VB said the draft code will be made available to the press on July 5 and that the final version of the code will be presented at its autumn general meeting on 16 November.

Meanwhile, Stichting Pensioenfonds ABP, the Dutch civil service scheme, has said it will be more active in the discussion on the pension fund governance issue.

It said on its website that a pension fund should check its governance on several criteria, such as transparency, responsibility, checks and balances, specialism and independence.

“The latter is a necessity for pension funds based on their overall position in the society,” it said. “They need and should be more pro-active in this regard. In all governance models for pension funds the starting point should be that the social partners (employers and employees) who members of the board should be responsible for all important decisions being made.”