NETHERLANDS - The €100bn healthcare scheme PFZW is considering a wide range of ways to communicate with its participants about the new Pensions Agreement, including social and public media, newsletters, road shows and pension coaches.

During the IIR-conference on risk management, PFZW director Peter Borgdorff said: "Our participants must be enabled to pick their favourite communication media themselves.

"We won't hold a referendum, as we want to start a discussion with our participants."

PFZW's communication goal is to gain participants' trust for pensions accrual and asset management, so "all information should be made available to them", Borgdorff said.

He added: "Our participants must be enabled to take thought-through decisions about their financial future.

"Tell both the good news and the bad, don't withhold any information and take the participants seriously."

In Borgdorff's opinion, a pension fund should apply a "healthy paternalistic approach", without operating from an "ivory tower".

PFZW's director received a compliment from Jan van Miltenburg, supervisory manager at the Financial Markets Authority (AFM), who said pension funds must help participants to deal with risks.

He said the supervisor welcomed effective pensions communication apart from the legal requirements.

Miltenburg recommended that pension funds offer their participants a check on their financial future, which might result in proposals for additional pension saving.

According to Theo Nijman, scientific director at Netspar - the network of pension researchers and professionals - participants need information in the first place, but "they must be activated to accept their pension fund's proposals".

Celeste de Quelerij, a communications expert at Towers Watson, added: "Participants just want to know what their ultimate spending power is, and what risks they run."