Pension bodies oppose pensioners’ increased say

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  • Pension bodies oppose pensioners’ increased say

NETHERLANDS - Pension fund representative organisations say they are disappointed to discover MPs have put forward a ‘hidden' element of proposed legislation which would give pensioners increased say in pension schemes' governing bodies.

Proposed legislation has been unveiled by Fatma Koşer Kaja of liberal democrat party D66 and Stef Blok of liberal party VVD which is also designed to give pensioners of industry-wide schemes a say on the pension fund board - a privilege fellow pensioners of company schemes already have - as well as on the scheme's ‘participation board.

However, representatives of the Dutch pension funds say there is no need to resurrect proposals put forward in previous years.

"The initiative also means that pensioners will be allowed to decide that they can be represented on both a scheme's board as well as on the participants council," said Frans Prins, director of the Foundation for Company Pension Funds (OPF) said.

"In our opinion, a pensioners' say in one body is sufficient. The present situation of pensioners represented on the board is satisfactory, and we don't see any indication that this should be changed," he told IPE.

The executive of the Association of Industry-wide Pension Funds (VB) shares the view of the OPF.

"Although our board still needs to look at the subject, we also think a double representation as proposed is odd," commented Leny van der Heiden, deputy director of VB.

"A right of choice must boil down to the choice of one option but not for both," she added.

VB has already made it clear it will not to support the principle of giving pensioners representation on the board, and has ABP, the €205bn scheme for civil servants.

"It means the loss of parity between employers and workers on the board. To the employers as main sponsors, this is unacceptable. Moreover, board members with specific interests will lead to polarisation," pointed out VB's spokesman Bram van Els.

Asked by IPE, Blok confirmed the OPF's and VB's interpretation of the proposed option - of double representation - to be correct.

"However, it is just a detail of the proposed legislation," he reiterated. "It would be an interesting development if the pension bodies were to accept our proposals if we dropped this element."

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