There is still leeway for a pay rise for trustees at most Dutch pension funds despite a 3.3% increase last year, according to Dutch research bureau The Pension Rating Agency (TPRA).

Based on remuneration data from annual reports for 2017, it concluded that pay was 16.5% lower on average relative to the standard set by the Pensions Federation in 2011.

TPRA said it based its calculations on the assumption that trustees spent a single day per week on a pension fund with assets of up to €10bn, and two days for larger schemes.

As an example of a scheme paying less than the standard level, researcher Michaël Deinema cited the sector scheme for the hospitality industry (Horeca & Catering), which exceeded €10bn in assets last year.

This meant trustees should have been paid based on a two-day work week, but instead the scheme based its pay on trustees spending one day a week on the scheme. Trustees were paid €25,000 a year.

In contrast, TPRA noted that a number of the newer general pension funds (APFs) paid their board members as if they were a larger scheme.

According to Deinema, this made sense given the APFs’ ambitions to pool smaller schemes together. He also suggested that governance was more complicated as the schemes accommodated several pension funds.

The research bureau found that the 3.3% pay rise last year predominantly occurred at smaller sector schemes and large company pension funds.

“This could be the effect of professionalising, for example through the appointment of external trustees,” Deinema suggested.

The survey also found that remuneration varied widely, with combined trustee board pay of €104,019 at company schemes and €464,881 at industry-wide pension funds, on average.

In 2011, the Pension Federation suggested that remuneration should be based on on a union’s total employer expenses for board members representing workers.

This amounted to €140,000 for a trustee at a large sector scheme (€10bn or more) in a full-time job, €125,000 for a trustee at a medium-sized scheme (€1bn-€10bn), and €100,000 for board members at small schemes (less than €1bn).