NETHERLANDS – Dutch asset manager and pensions provider MN has simplified its board structure in a bid to improve its relationship with pension fund clients.

According to its 2012 annual report, it reduced its two “management layers” from two to one, chaired by chief executive Ruud Hagendijk and “extended” by Walter Mutsaers as its new director of client relations.

Marjolein Zaal, who joined MN as head of marketing and communications in November, said: “We have mirrored our board structure on those of our clients in order to serve them better and faster.”

MN’s new board also includes Frans van de Ven (investments), Wouter Pelser (fiduciary management), Kor Bosscher (finance), Jeroen van Rooden (ICT) and Maarten van der Tuin (pensions and insurance).

To further improve its own “vision” and the quality of its advice, MN said it would also sponsor a pensions economics chair at Amsterdam University, as well as conduct more surveys to gauge the Dutch people’s “feeling” towards pensions.

Last year, the company saw assets under management increase from €77bn to €90bn, and it attributed the growth to solid returns and ongoing consolidation in the sector.

It reported returns of between 10.2% and 13.6%, depending on the agreed specific investment strategy for each individual client.

It also announced the launch of an online self-service system for its clients’ participants, adding that this “digital pension fund” would provide direct insight into accrued pension rights and scenarios for pensions accrual and retirement.

However, Zaal told IPE that MN had been forced to put its previously announced investigation into the feasibility of a PPI pensions vehicle or defined contribution plans on hold, to “free up capacity” for the implementation of a number of pensions reforms currently on the table.

MN is pensions provider and asset manager for 31 pension funds and insurers, including the €33bn metal scheme PME and the €47bn metal pension fund PMT.

Its subsidiary, MN UK, services seven pension funds in the UK.