NETHERLANDS - The Association of Industry-wide Pension Funds (VB) has defended the proposed code for Dutch pension fund governance, praising the flexibility within the guidelines.
VB director Peter Borgdorff (pictured) said every pension fund now had flexible principles to help them make their own pension fund governance.
“There are now principles, and there is not a very strict structure,” said Borgdorff. “With principles you can make you own pension fund governance but when you have a total blueprint you don’t have the possibility to make other arrangements that fit better within your specific pension fund.”
“I don’t like less flexibility because there are a lot of differences between pension funds,” he added.
Borgdorff’s comments were made following criticism of the code by the Foundation of Company Pension Funds (OPF) director Jeroen Steenvoorden, who supports the principles of the code, but believes that its long-term structure will result in less efficient decision-making.
“The governance of the pensions funds will be more bureaucratic and it will take more time to make decisions, especially for very small schemes,” he said.
“The current code is very flexible but we foresee problems in the long run,” continued Steenvoorden. “If the vision of the future prescribes one model than it won’t be that flexible, a pension fund probably isn’t going to choose another model if they know the vision of the future is to go in that direction.”
Borgdorff refuted this claim: “There is now a definite agreement on how to deal with pension fund governance in the long term so I don’t agree...of course some things could be better but sometimes you have to say we are glad with what we have and not only talk about what is not okay.
“Social partners and the pension funds all agree that there are some minimum requirements in structure, not only in principles,” he continued, and added this was an area currently under discussion with OPF.
The code is now open for consultation and remarks will be considered by the Stichting van de Arbeid, the Dutch labour foundation when it drafts the final version.
Borgdorff said he expected extensive discussion in coming months: “Some people say pension funds have more obligations than insurance companies and I think there will be some discussion about how to deal with supervision.”
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