SPW, the €12.3bn Dutch pension fund for the country’s housing corporations, has developed an online program to provide its participants with an insight into their overall financial position.
The program – developed by pensions provider APG and Ortec Finance – not only comprises information from the national pensions register, but also enables participants to add information such as their savings and other annuities.
APG said that its main client, the €409bn civil service scheme ABP, as well as BpfBouw, the €57bn pension fund for the building industry, had also shown a serious interest in the program.
“Our aim is to improve the bond with our participants,” explained Jim Schuyt, employer chairman of SPW. “We would like that eight out of 10 participants and at least nine out of 10 employers would join us.”
A survey of SPW’s participants suggested that more than 50% would appreciate assistance from their pension fund with their financial planning – in particular regarding their pension itself.
Schuyt said: “We consider helping making choices about their financial future also as a way of complying with our [duty of care] as a pension fund.”
However, he emphasised that the assistance was only going to provide an insight “as pension funds are not allowed to offer advice”.
Bringing together the figures about the expected pension benefits with details of superannuation and savings, as well as the desired lifestyle after retirement, would provide the participants with an overview of their future income.
Combined with expected expenses after retirement, participants are supposed to be able to draw up a balance sheet.
The program has been available for SPW’s participants since last month. According to Schuyt, 8% of participants who have logged in since then have already checked the program.
Next week, SPW will alert 11,000 of its participants aged over 50 to the new program.
“This development matches our goals,” commented Raoul Willms, who is responsible for marketing at APG. “We are working on several projects to improve the insight into and overview of the financial position of our clients’ participants.”
Last year, ABP and APG presented a model for the visualisation of an individual’s pensions pot, showing how much pension capital participants were accruing.
“We hope that other pension funds will also use the instrument,” said Schuyt. “An additional advantage would be that more schemes would contribute to the development costs.”
Depending on users’ responses, SPW would decide which additional options are to be developed.
Schuyt said: “We expect, for example, that adding the partner’s details would be the first wish for many participants, as financial planning is usually carried out on a household level.”
SPW has outsourced its administration, communication, asset management and board support to APG.