Schemes struggle with integrity - KPMG
NETHERLANDS - Many Dutch pension funds are struggling to meet their own governance criteria on integrity policy, consultancy firm KPMG has suggested.
The company, which surveyed 30 Dutch pension funds, has attributed what is said to be a growing problem to the lack of clear legal rules for analysing integrity risks and setting up a matching policy.
Although the schemes recognise the levels of integrity supervised by De Nederlandsche Bank, their perception of what constitutes integrity policy when managing a pension scheme differs from one to another, observed KPMG.
Its study showed 50% of the pension funds questioned have mapped out their integrity risks, have developed a code of conduct and often have a policy for socially-responsible undertakings too.
"However, schemes to record incidents, for whistleblowers, undesired behaviour or an internet protocol are less common," stated KPMG.
"Despite the presence of a compliance officer at most pension funds, and staff and boards usually being well-informed, little is done to actively stimulate integrity-awareness," the consultancy added.
In the opinion of Edward Snieder, KPMG's chief adviser to pension funds, the lack of clarity around meeting integrity policy is ‘remarkable'.
"One should expect pension funds to highly value integrity, especially given the legal requirement set by the Pension Act and that the risk of reputation damage is hanging over them like Damocles' sword," he commented.
Snieder suggested schemes could tackle the problem by focusing on integrating their existing arrangements, rather than setting out new measures.
Frans Prins, director of the Foundation for Company Pension Funds (OPF), said it is problem he recognises.
"We have recently developed a manual to help our members set up the required integrity plan," he told IPE.
Prins said together with the other two lobbying organisations, VB and UvB, the OPF is holding two theme days on compliance in early spring.
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