Notes from Europe

  • Notes from the Netherlands
    Opinion Pieces

    Could Dutch pension reforms still be reversed?

    April 2024 (Magazine)

    1 January 2025: that’s the day the first Dutch pension funds will move to a defined contribution (DC) system according to the new Pension Act. So the clock is ticking for politicians who still hope to reverse the pension changes, or give members a say on the mandatory conversion of defined benefit (DB) accruals to DC capital, the most controversial part of the pension reform. 

  • Nordic Notes
    Opinion Pieces

    ATP at 60: no plans to retire the guaranteed pensions model

    April 2024 (Magazine)

    Now approaching retirement age itself, Danish statutory pension fund ATP is using its 60th birthday as an opportunity to reinforce the validity of its guarantee-based investment model.

  • Notes from Germany
    Opinion Pieces

    Can pensions help with German skills crisis?

    March 2024 (magazine)

    German companies consider the shortage of skilled workers as one of the biggest risks for the future of their business. According to market data portal Statista, 58% of firms see the lack of qualified workers putting operations at risk in the next few months, second only to the risks posed by energy and commodity prices (61%). 

  • Carine Smith Ihenacho at NBIM
    News

    NBIM’s divestment decisions yield NOK10bn returns

    2024-02-07T15:47:00Z

    ‘There is still a way to go before we reach our goal of net zero targets and transition plans for all the companies in the portfolio,’ says Carine Smith Ihenacho

  • Notes from the Netherlands
    Opinion Pieces

    Opponents of Dutch pension reform can’t agree

    February 2024 (magazine)

    The Dutch parliamentary elections of 22 November not only resulted in a historic victory for Geert Wilders. The record loss of the governing coalition also meant the new Pension Act no longer has majority support in parliament.  

  • Nordic Notes
    Analysis

    High stakes as pension funds take on Tesla

    January 2024 (Magazine)

    A group of Nordic pension funds is tentatively standing up to Elon Musk’s electric car giant, in reaction to a labour dispute at Tesla in Sweden. The strike at the end of October by 130 Tesla workers affiliated with IF Metall led to a wave of sympathy strikes which spread to Norway, Denmark and Finland.

  • Letter from Berlin
    Opinion Pieces

    Investors could do more to boost German start-ups

    December 2023 (Magazine)

    The German constitutional court’s ruling that the government’s reallocation of €60bn worth of debt to the country’s Climate and Transformation Fund is unlawful was a blow. But there was also also some welcome news last month.

  • Notes from the Netherlands
    Opinion Pieces

    Election result is bad news for the pension sector

    December 2023 (Magazine)

    NSC, the new political party that made headlines in this publication with its controversial plan to block pension funds from converting DB pensions to DC without explicit consent from members, did not win the landslide victory that many pension executives feared. But they probably did not get a good night’s sleep anyway. 

  • Nordic Notes
    Opinion Pieces

    Sweden’s Alecta seems immune from criticism but beware the watchdog

    November 2023 (Magazine)

    Right now, Alecta cuts a strange figure – one of Europe’s biggest pensions institutions wounded after gaping investment losses, and sustaining still worse injuries from the monopolistic hubris it leaves in its wake. 

  • Nordic Notes
    Opinion Pieces

    NBIM’s Shanghai exit: more than ‘operational’ adjustment’

    October 2023 (Magazine)

    When Norway’s sovereign wealth fund announced in September it was shutting down its only office in China, the move was bound to be seen as symbolic of the deteriorating relationship between China and the US and its allies. It also came at a low-point for investment in China, with foreigners having sold off a record CNY90bn (€11.5bn) of Chinese stocks in August, amid fears over China’s tensions with the West, its property crisis and weak post-COVID economic recovery. 

  • Notes from the Netherlands
    Opinion Pieces

    Don't expect Dutch pension funds to make a big move to alternative investments

    October 2023 (Magazine)

    It is often assumed that the upcoming pension reform in the Netherlands will lead pension funds to increase their allocations to alternative assets as their policy priorities will move from protecting their funding ratios to providing indexation for their members. 

  • Letter from Berlin
    Opinion Pieces

    Resistance to Germany’s new buffer fund proposal

    September 2023 (Magazine)

    Last year, the manager of Germany’s pay-as-you-go first-pillar scheme, Deutsche Rentenversicherung, recorded income of €363bn, the largest share coming from contributions (€275.6bn), and €87.4bn in public subsidies. 

  • Rachel Fixsen
    Opinion Pieces

    Notes from the Nordics: NBIM still learning on equal pay after winning employment case

    July/August 2023 (Magazine)

    Norway’s sovereign wealth fund has hailed the benefits of litigation abroad to drive its corporate governance agenda. Closer to home, victory in an Oslo employment case may have rung decidedly hollow for Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM).

  • Luigi Serenelli at IPE
    Opinion Pieces

    Letter from Berlin: The German way to supervise the EU Taxonomy

    October 2022 (Magazine)

    The German financial supervisory authority, BaFin, has chosen its own path to deal with the EU taxonomy – in particular when it comes to nuclear and gas. 

  • Rachel Fixsen
    Opinion Pieces

    Notes from the Nordics: Finland on the frontier

    May 2022 (Magazine)

    Fear and uncertainty are rattling markets, but financial concerns are dwarfed by the human suffering caused by the war in Ukraine. In Finland, people have particular reason to worry due to the country’s long land border with Russia. 

  • Tjibbe Hoekstra at IPE
    Opinion Pieces

    Notes from the Netherlands: Inflation could bolster pension reforms

    March 2022 (Magazine)

    The Dutch pension agreement, paving the way for a change from a defined benefit to defined contribution-type system, was concluded in the pre-COVID summer of 2019. But it is still waiting to be implemented, with the delay blamed on the protracted negotiations following Dutch parliamentary elections in March 2021. 

  • Opinion Pieces

    Notes from the Nordics: Danish funds keen to invest in green project

    February 2022 (Magazine)

    Danish pension funds have been at the forefront of discussions on how to achieve the nation’s ambitious goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 70% from 1990 levels by 2030. 

  • Tjibbe Hoekstra
    Opinion Pieces

    Notes from the Netherlands: It’s the implementation, stupid

    January 2022 (Magazine)

    The Dutch pensions regulator, DNB, praised pension funds in a recent report for having better structures in place to manage their exposure to climate risk than banks and insurance firms. But as always, the devil is in the detail. 

  • Screenshot 2021-11-26 at 15.31.06
    Opinion Pieces

    Notes from the Netherlands: Too eager to index

    December 2021 (Magazine)

    Most Dutch pensioners have been craving indexation ever since the financial crisis in 2008-09. Understandably, patience is running thin, especially now that inflation has reached its highest level since the introduction of the euro. 

  • Opinion Pieces

    Notes from the Netherlands: Truly Paris aligned

    September 2021 (Magazine)

    A milestone was reached in July when the first Dutch pension fund announced its divestment from fossil fuels. Surprisingly, the fund in question was neither civil service scheme ABP nor healthcare fund PFZW, the two largest Dutch funds, both of which have the ambition to be leaders in sustainable and responsible.