NETHERLANDS - Certification by an external actuary does not need to be mandatory for insurers, said Dutch finance minister Gerrit Zalm.

In practice there have not been significant problems because of the lack of this requirement, Zalm said in reply to parliamentary questions. He does however support the principle that actuaries should not check their own work and that their independence is guaranteed.

Apart from external certification, a proper system of internal control and accountability is another approach of the issue, the minister stressed. “It is the ultimate responsibility of the accountant of signing all the relevant documents. He will depend on other specialist as well, eg investment experts and brokers, if he needs to check the valuation of derivatives and real estate”.

“For none of these specialist is there a legal obligation for checks and balances by an external party. Moreover the regulator is already capable of checking the competency and independency of actuaries,” Zalm added.

The minister also referred to the current proposals of the Actuarial Society, or AG, which, in his opinion, will lead to a “fundamental reinforcement of the existing mechanism of self-regulation”. The new European legislation for insurers (Solvency II) is another reason why minister Zalm is reluctant to adjusting the national legislation at the moment.

The role and position of the actuaries within the pensions industry will be dealt within the new pensions bill, the minister said. The bill, which is the responsibility of the Dutch minister of social affairs, is set to be debated in parliament this year.