NETHERLANDS - Pension funds will not have to adopt a one-size-fits-all model as part of of pension fund governance improvement proposals, according to social affairs' minister Piet Hein Donner.
The social partners, employers and employees who run pension funds, must be allowed leeway in deciding which system fits them best due to the differences between schemes, Donner indicated during consultations with the social affairs select committee on Wednesday.
Participants' representatives could sit either on the board, or on the participants council, which should be given an important role, the minister suggested.
He made clear his support of a merger of the statutory pension fund participants council and the accountability body as it has proved that several of their functions are overlapping.
Another option is a social partner trustee board, supervising a pension fund's professional board, the minister indicated.
That said, Donner reiterated that he remains against appointing representatives of pensioners on the board - as proposed by the MPs Stef Blok and Fatma Koşer Kaja - because this would come at the expense of other groups of participants.
"Not all interests need to be represented on the board, because the participants council is already there for the very purpose," the minister argued.
Recently, Donner said he favours an integral approach, linking improvements of governance to the recent recommendations of the Frijns and Goudswaard committees.
Spokesmen of both the Association of Industry-wide Pension Funds (VB) and the Foundation for Company Pension Funds (OPF) indicated that Donner's ideas fully match their organisations' view on governance and say.
Jos Dirks, director of the €12bn Rabobank pension fund, who recently revealed his view on the issue, also noted that the minister's proposals are similar to his suggestions. (See earlier IPE article: Dutch pensions industry warns of 'communications bottleneck')
Donner further promised to respond before 1 October to MPs' request to table a bill on transparency of investments of pension funds and insurers.
He will also soon conclude an evaluation on the cost-transparency of defined contribution arrangements at insurers, he said.