NETHERLANDS - The Dutch Senate has approved draft legislation that would allow pensioners to sit on the boards of industry-wide pension funds.

MPs Fatma Koşer Kaja of the liberal democrats (D66) and Stef Blok of the liberal party (VVD) tabled the proposal in 2008.

To date, only employers and employees have been allowed to sit on the boards of industry-wide pension funds. According to Blok, this means that more than 70% of pensioners have had no voice on their schemes' boards.

At company schemes, on the other hand, pensioners can occupy seats on either the board or the pension fund's participants council.

Previously, social affairs minister Henk Kamp had vowed to improve the position of pensioners within participants councils through a proportionate representation towards workers.

However, contrary to Koşer Kaja and Blok's draft legislation, the minister said he wanted to cap the number of pensioner seats on the boards of industry-wide schemes.

"This in order to prevent pensioners from becoming a blocking power, and employers from becoming a minority," he said.

Last Tuesday, the minister announced that he would present his bill for improved pension fund governance (PFG) to parliament in February.

Gert Kloosterboer, spokesman at the Pension Federation, said: "Because pensioner representation is only part of the issue, we have called for a delay in finalising the draft legislation so the effect can be considered in connection with the minister's bill for an overall improvement of PFG.

"We are pleased Kamp has indicated that both pieces of legislation will come into force from 1 January 2013."

The Association of Industry-wide Pension Funds has been opposed to the pensioner initiative, as it feared a loss of parity between employers and employees on boards.

It also expressed concerns that it could set a precedent for other groups, such as young participants, which "might hamper effective governing".