NETHERLANDS - Dutch social affairs minister Henk Kamp wants to offer pension funds the choice of three different board models and further improve internal supervision and the expertise of board members.
The proposed changes will be part of an integral package for improved governance and co-decision-making to be presented in a bill next autumn, he said in a letter to the Senate.
Due to the increasing complexity of the pension sector, the bar needs to be raised for pension funds' boards, Kamp said.
The minister said pension funds would also get the option of an external board model with at least two professional members, or a mixed model with a one-tier board with non-executive members and at least two external executives.
In addition, the present board model, with equal representation between employers and employees/pensioners, should stay, but also include the option of pensioners occupying no more than 50% of the workers' seats, he suggested.
In the opinion of the minister, internal supervision - usually a visitation committee reporting every three years - must be carried out by a permanent supervisory council, or through a yearly visitation for company schemes.
Kamp said he also wanted to tighten up the expertise requirements for policymakers at pension funds.
He said he wanted to turn the accountability body into a new participants council with both advisory powers and accountability tasks and that could also offer seats to deferred participants.
Pensioners' position in a participant council should be improved through a proportionate representation toward workers, he added.
According to Kamp, a pension fund with an external board must establish a "stakeholders body" with equal representation, but always including pensioners.
Contrary to the initiative legislation of the MPs Fatma Koșer Kaya and Stef Blok - currently awaiting final approval from the Senate - Kamp wants to maximise the number of pensioners' seats on the board of industry-wide schemes, to "prevent pensioners from becoming a blocking power and employers from becoming a minority".
The minister also said he would be willing to allow pension funds' stakeholders to appoint external representatives on the board.