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Special Report

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Corporate distancing

New accounting standards are forcing several companies, such as AkzoNobel, Philips and ABN Amro, to reconsider their current financial relationship with their respective pension funds.
The director of the OPF, the Dutch Association of Company Pension Funds, says the new accounting standards could have a significant indirect effect on the position of company pension funds.
Lower coverage ratios of the funds directly imply that companies, such as chemicals firm AkzoNobel, will have to pay millions to reinstate needed ratios. Akzo chief executive Hans Wijers said that the financial results should present the performance of the company itself and not be influenced by share price movements and investment portfolios of the pension fund.
Steenvoorden said that some companies will try to set up a new framework to prevent that negative or positive results of the pension funds will affect the overall company results.
Currently there is a growing need to distance companies from their respective pension funds, by changing the financing agreement between the pension fund and the sponsor.

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