NETHERLANDS - The member councils of six large Dutch pension funds have united in a new national platform, which represents more than 2.5 million employees and pensioners.

The initiative behind the new organisation has been taken by the member’s council of Pensioenfonds Metalektro, or PME. It has combined with the councils of the pension funds for the building industry, painters and decorators, graphics, metal and technical and health care scheme PGGM, the second largest in The Netherlands.

The platform’s main aim is “enhancing the say of active members and pensioners by sharing knowledge and skills”.

“During social and political discussions, e.g. pension fund governance, a joint standpoint will have a bigger impact than the combined positions of the individual councils,” it said in a statement.

The Association of Industry-wide Pension Funds has promised its support for the platform by offering its know-how and meeting facilities, and by organising events.

Meanwhile, the liberal democrat party D66 – part of the government coalition – has announced a bill, which would give pensioners a seat on the board of pension schemes.

“It isn’t right that pensioners don’t have a role in governing the schemes that have their money at their disposal,” explained MP Bert Bakker.

Also the Raad van State, the highest court in the Netherlands, says pensioners should have a say in the policy of the pension funds.

But social affairs minister Aart-Jan de Geus has postponed a decision until after the broad national debate about the governance of pension funds.

The Foundation of Company Pension Funds says D66’s initiative is far too early.