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IPE special report May 2018

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Pension funds must decide on openness - Donner

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  • Pension funds must decide on openness - Donner

NETHERLANDS - The Dutch government has dismissed calls for more transparency of pensions fund investments and argued existing governance arrangements are strong enough.

Piet Hein Donner, the Dutch minister of social affairs, has stated he believes it is the responsibility of pension fund managers to decide whether they give full openness on specific investments or not.

His comments were made in reply to a call for more transparency, by Christen Democrat members of the House of Representatives,

Donner said in a letter he considered the current governance structure to be adequate, and referred to the legal obligation on pension funds to provide accountability on their investment strategy in an annual report.

Moreover, he noted an individual member can also "initiate a discussion via the member council" but said it is the task of pension fund managers to determine to which extent they are able to give openness on each single asset they invest in.

"Factors such as the costs involved as well as strategic considerations will play an important role", explained Donner.

He added the pension funds' primary role is to meet its members' pension claims so they should therefore strive for the best returns possible on investments, albeit within the existing legal framework.

"But I will enquire at the three representative organisations of pension funds on the current state of affairs regarding transparency," he continued.

Christen Democrat MPs Pieter Omtzigt and Eddy van Hijum also asked the minister whether he believed Dutch pension funds invest enough in The Netherlands.

"It is up to the pension fund managers to assess whether it is appropriate to invest in The Netherlands. "Their main duty is to achieve the highest possible return to finance the pensions of its members. To this aim diversification of risks is essential," responded Donner.

If you have any comments you would like to add to this or any other story, contact Julie Henderson on + 44 (0)20 7261 4602 or email julie.henderson@ipe.com

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