Koen De Ryck, who for many years ran Pragma Consulting in Brussels, passed away in September at the age of 66. During his long and distinguished career he was the Brussels representative for the European Federation for Retirement Provision (EFRP), and penned the 1996 report ‘European Pension Funds: Their impact on European Capital Markets and Competitiveness', which shaped the current IORP Directive. Indeed, it was his work at EU level that earned him the description "father of European pensions". Below we publish some tributes to him:
"Prior to Koen's arrival, EFRP had no real presence in the European Community. We needed a link to be able to make contact with all the people who were relevant to pensions in Europe and in Brussels. Koen was hugely instrumental in getting us in front of so many people. Through the seeds that were sewn at the time, the EFRP became the influential body it is today. We relied on Koen hugely to get us on the map, and we will always be grateful to him and are sad at his passing."
Alex Broxson, executive chairman of Irish Pensions Trust and former chairman of EFRP
"I first met him about 20 years ago, when I started working at the pension fund for doctors in Belgium. When I started in my job, Koen was a consultant there and at that time, I still remember, he was my teacher in the pension fund business."
Karel Stroobants, independent director of the metalworkers pension fund in Belgium
"To me, for over 25 years, Koen resembled
an evergreen tree of friendship, a rock
solid guardian of risk averse, yet adaptive
occupational pension funds; across Europe, a
promoter of balanced, that is sustainable, funded pensions solutions. A creative, persevering and demanding personality, he was therefore not necessarily easy for everyone to have around."
Dr Eberhard Cleff, former chief executive, Wacker Chiemie Pensionskasse
"Koen de Ryck turned out to be a real teacher to me with respect to the differences between systems across countries, in how to get the pension message across to politicians and, especially, giving the example of a strongly motivated person. I rarely encounter people who are more devoted to the pension cause than he was and he was never too tired to advocate improvements."
Anton van Nunen, Van Nunen & Partners
"Koen was more than a professional. He was a teacher and friend to many of us. Thank you Koen for the discussions and your warmth."
Henk van Embden, LCP Netherlands