NETHERLANDS - The Dutch pensions industry is resisting the appointment of external supervisors amid negotiations for a code for corporate governance, according to reports.
The daily Het Financieele Dagblad said a working party of employers, employees, associations of the elderly and umbrella organisations of pension funds, prefer to see supervisors from within the industry.
It said the working party wants the commissioners to be appointed by the members of a future accountable body - similar to a shareholders’ meeting - in which employers, workers and pensioners have a vote.
It is assumed that the representatives will appoint former pension governors and union experts as commissioners, rather than independent financial advisers and lawyers.
Besides the choice of commissioners, the pensions industry is still struggling with the role of internal supervision, it added. The small pension funds in particular fear problems in coping with extra governing layers.
“The further details are hardly clear,” said Gerard Verheij, the employers’ organisation VNO-NCW’s representative in the working party.
“If the accountability has been set up well, if the regulator does the external supervision and if the accountants and actuaries do their job, which task is left for an internal supervisor?”
Verheij denied there was an aversion to external supervisors. “It is a good thing if external experts have a look at procedures now and then. But we don’t want supervision by heavy bodies.
“The large majority of Dutch pension funds are average or small size. They might run into difficulties, because of all the changes they are facing already.”
The majority of the working party is understood to expect that the introduction of accountable bodies will eventually lead to the disappearance of councils of participants, in which employees, pensioners and deferred are being represented.
Supervisory bodies of independent experts have been demanded by social affairs minister Aart Jan de Geus and the DNB central bank which regulates pensions.
De Geus has threatened to introduce legislation if the industry hasn’t introduced a code for corporate governance by 2007. The working party will take a decision about a concept code on September 12.