NETHERLANDS - The €21bn metal scheme PME has decided to change its governance structure as a result of the financial crisis which reduced its cover ratio to 84% last year.

Scheme officials have refuted claims in the Dutch media suggesting pensions regulator DNB has ordered the pension fund to change its governance structure as DNB officials felt the board lacked sufficient oversight on its assets.

The industry-wide pension fund for metal workers said in a statement it will scale down its board to one layer and abolish its separate committees for pensions and asset management.

Its 13-strong board will also be downsized and will meet more frequently, "increasing the strike power of the pension plan", it added.

According to the metalworkers' pension scheme, the move was directly triggered by the financial crisis as the pressure is said to have offered a "unique stress test, showing how the governance could be improved".

"Aside from the observations of De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB), we had already started drawing up a plan for the improvement of our asset management, and our grip on it," officials claimed.

PME said its plan for improvement focuses on increasing the boards' grip on the asset management, improving its risk management and increasing its independent expertise on asset management.

It added: "Although in our opinion the legally required expertise is already available within the board, we are further increasing the collective knowledge on investment."

The asset management of the scheme has been outsourced to €60bn asset manager Mn Services for the past three years. Officials at Mn Services were unavailable for comment at the time of publication.

As part of the improvement process, scheme officials said an in-house independent risk manager has been appointed, as well as a director of asset management to head a team of investment experts.

PME's funding ratio - still 135% at the end of 2007 - dropped to 84% at the end of February 2009, but had recovered to 100% by the end of November 2009.

If you have any comments you would like to add to this or any other story, contact Julie Henderson on + 44 (0)20 7261 4602 or email