NETHERLANDS - Dutch pension funds will be allowed to appoint supervisors themselves under new governance rules, according to Het Financieele Dagblad.

Drawing on the as yet un-published concept-code – demanded by Social Affairs minister Aart Jan de Geus, and developed by the Labour Foundation, or Star – the paper added that the participants will get a more important vote within the pension schemes.

According to the paper, the draft is much milder than the concepts developed by the pensions industry. The appointment of a separate supervisory board by schemes is not compulsory any more.

One of the alternatives still under debate, is the so-called ‘one-tier board’, in which at least three members have a supervisory task. Schemes will also be allowed to appoint external experts, who check the board at least once every three years.

The internal supervisors can’t fire the board. However, a mandatory accountability body of employers, workers and pensioners, can ask the court to put the board to the test.

The leaked draft doesn’t mention the role of accountants and actuaries. Earlier, the pensions industry has indicated that they shouldn’t have double tasks.

According to the proposals, the present councils of participants – of employees, pensioners and deferred – can merge into the new accountability organ, which will get different gradations of voting rights.

The paper is quoting sources as saying that the representation of employers and employees might cause contradictory advice, which could slow down the advisory process.

Jeroen Steenvoorden, director of the Foundation of Company Pension Funds, or OPF, admits not to be taken with such body for co-management with increased advisory rights.

“We are against a mandatory new organ,” he stressed. The Association of Industry-wide Pension Funds, or VB, and a ministerial spokeswoman, didn’t want to comment yet.

Consultations on the principles are still going on between minister, employers and employees. The definite concept-code will probably be published this week.