NETHERLANDS - The Dutch government is to amend the current Pension Law proposal to include a legal basis for pension fund members to have a role in the management of funds.

The plan, from social affairs minister Aart Jan de Geus, means that for the first time ever it will be necessary by law to put in place a participation board (deelnemersraad) or have pensioners take part in the fund's board.

The change follows requests put forward by the Parliament, the social partners and the Coordinating Organisation of Elderly and Pensioners (CSO, Coördinatieorgaan Samenwerkende Ouderenorganisaties).

The current law already makes it possible for pensioners to take part in a pension fund board or participation council.

However, pension funds only were legally forced to set up a participation or co-management council if more than 5% of total members ask for it.

According to the social partners and the CSO, most pension funds are not willing to improve or support co-management - which is why they've asked the minister to include the option in the new proposal.

If approved by Parliament, the new agreements will legally force schemes to set up a participation board. Corporate pension funds will have the option to choose to have pensions in the pension fund board or in a participation board.

Corporate pension funds will be legally obliged to do this if 10% of members are pensioners or if at least a 1,000 members are pensioners.

De Geus reiterated that he still expects the new Pension Law to be implemented January 1 2007. At present, the new proposal is being discussed in Parliament.