The largest Dutch pension fund providers and assets managers are practising large-scale home working, have minimised travel and split up teams, as measures to prevent the COVID-19 virus interrupting pension payments and investment processes.
APG, the asset manager and pensions provider for the €465bn civil service scheme ABP, said that half of its 3,000 staff had succesfully worked from home in the past week.
According to a spokesman, this had also offered staff not used to working at home an insight into how systems for remote working operated.
A spokesman for PGGM, the asset manager and provider for the €238bn healthcare scheme PFZW, said that it had conducted tests for working at several locations.
“We have ample experience with home working, and our entire organisation can do so if needed,” he added.
MN, the €135bn manager and provider for the large metal sector schemes PMT and PME, also said it was testing large-scale remote working, with teams assessing the impact on continuity if everybody were to work at home.
It said that it had, like PGGM, an alternative office location available. APG has offices in Amsterdam and Heerlen.
MN added that it was also mapping out whether there would be sufficient employees available that could act as a back up to all important positions within its organisation. It added that it hadn’t decided yet whether these staff members should stay at home as a precautionary measure.
The firm has also formed a team focusing on the protection of its operations against COVID-19, which regularly exchanges information with another team dedicated to following financial markets.
Recently, supervisor De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) encouraged pension funds as well as their outsourcing partners to check whether their contingency plans provide for a month’s-long pandemic with a high degree of staff absence.
Meanwhile, ABN Amro has decided that half of its staff must work from home on a weekly alternating basis in order to avoid entire teams becoming infected.
The firm has also split its office in two to avoid an evacuation of the entire building in case staff members fall ill.
APG added that it discouraged travelling between its offices in Amsterdam and Heerlen, as well as during rush hour.
PGGM said that corporate travel to areas with a negative travel advice was not allowed, while travelling to other countries was only possible with clearance from the executive office.
MN announced it had also cancelled business travel and discouraged private journeys to risk areas.