NETHERLANDS – Roderick Munsters, chief investment officer of 53 billion-euro Dutch healthcare fund PGGM, has a discounted mortgage loan of almost one million euros with the fund.

Munsters had a mortgage loan of 998,000 euros from his employer as at the end of 2003, up from 708,000 euros in 2002, according to PGGM’s annual report. The other executive board member with a mortgage loan that was disclosed was services chief Heino van Essen, at 279,000 euros.

The loan is in addition to Munsters’ salary of 276,000 euros and 43,000 in pensions and social security payments.

PGGM spokesman Alfred Kool said: “As most financial institutions, we offer all our employees the possibility to arrange a mortgage loan at PGGM with a discount of 25% compared with the average market interest, and Mr. Munsters is no exception.”

He said the loan is not part of Munsters’ employment contract.

As well as his role at PGGM, Munsters also holds board positions at Krono Verzekeringen Holding, Amvest and Utrechtse Participatiemaatschappij. He is chairman of Pension Funds’ Corporate Governance Research Foundation, SCGOP.

Meanwhile, outgoing PGGM chairman Dick de Beus, writing in the report, said: “Academic research and experience in practice have demonstrated that the Dutch collective pension system, which includes clear elements of solidarity, can certainly provide these benefits.”

He said that a collective scheme based on solidarity “provides a balance between price and quality that is simply not available on an individual basis”.

De Beus argued: “The biggest threat to the Dutch defined-benefit schemes based on the principle of solidarity is the current, sometimes obsessive focus on the short term.”

“Fashions of the day are threatening to make it impossible to operate defined-benefit schemes. Pension schemes based on solidarity are, however, primarily designed for the longer term and so focus on the best way to generate the best results in the longer term.”