The Shell pensions bureau (SPN) has entered into a unique partnership with SPO, the college for pensions education in the Netherlands, to improve the competence of the board members at Shell’s two pension funds, SSPF and SNPS.
Both schemes said they wanted to “set an example” on pensions and governance expertise.
Since 2012, SPN’s Academy has provided a mix of educational instruments and know-how to board members and candidates of the pension funds, their accountability organs (VO), supervisory boards (RvT) and SPN staff.
The Academy will serve as the focal point for all schooling, training and reference material, and support the entire process, while SPO will offer services to increase competence, carry out expertise projects and set up the annual curriculum.
Mark de Wijs, SPO’s director, said: “We will think along with the pension funds about boosting competence during the whole cycle. With the aid of new educational instruments, monitoring and maintenance, and based on individual assessments, we will be in control.”
In his opinion, the cooperation between SPO and the Shell schemes is unique in the Netherlands.
The SPN Academy already provides external schooling, in addition to courses by its own specialists and skills training by the sponsoring company.
These will continue under the new set-up, SPN said.
In the opinion of the Shell schemes, the mix of internal and external competence-boosting will add value to overall pensions education.
In July 2013, Shell Netherlands set up a second pension fund – offering an individual defined contribution plan for new employees – while closing its existing final salary scheme for new entrants.
SPN is responsible for the daily management of the pension funds, and supports and advises their boards on governance, actuarial issues, asset and risk management and pensions strategy.
SPO was founded in 1989 by the pensions sector and focuses on maintaining standards for people in governing positions at pension funds.