A pension is a sum of money accrued over time, which you can then access from your retirement until death. Pensions may seem simple. But pension funds have many stakeholders with different and often conflicting interests: pension fund members and partners, the government, companies and business sectors. Should we abolish mandatory participation in pension schemes or not? Should a fixed discount rate or the market rate be used? What about intergenerational solidarity? What influence does Europe have on pensions in the Netherlands? And how can you explain the technicalities of pensions in an easy and understandable way, so that members pay more attention to this important issue? So many questions with so many different answers…

The Dutch Pension Agreement

In 2010, the groundwork was laid for a new pension agreement between employers and employees, which essentially boils down to ‘a lower pension in difficult times, a higher pension in more prosperous times’. It took as long as 2016 for the accompanying regulations to come into force. Numerous calculations were made until the sector arrived at a suitable legislative framework. And more amendments are to be expected. In the next 10 years the Dutch pension model will undergo one of the biggest changes in history. Fuelled by social trends, there will be more attention for personal pension accrual and collective risk sharing. This will lead to new pension initiatives and solutions that our current system struggles to deliver.

Structure

Whatever the future looks like, it is important that we continue to strive for a structured and systematic approach. Nothing is impossible, as long as we focus on the desired result and ask the right questions. And if it takes longer than expected for all questions to be answered, that’s OK. What is important is that you communicate clearly and openly, and that you simplify complex concepts.

‘Arnoud and I worked together for the first time on a project delivering the launch of a new pension product for a large multinational including the expansion and modernisation of the member portal. Another project that we completed involved guiding the transition process from the Shell Nederland DB fund. Administration and communications activitites have been outsourced from Shell Pensioenbureau Nederland BV to Syntrus Achmea.

Arnoud is a passionate project manager, who uses a pragmatic approach to arrive at a workable solution in a fast and structured way. As my ‘right-hand man’ in the above projects, I relied on him to solve problems with constructive solution strategies. In our joint Agile approach, Arnoud provides a ‘blue’ reality check to ensure everyone stays focused on our number one goal: a successful and timely implementation. Our collaboration is partnership in every sense of the word. The result is truly a joint effort. Side by side, and with help from many colleagues, we get a considerable amount of work done in our complex environment. Creative, with expert knowledge, and in a goal-oriented manner.’

 

Gerco van der Wilt, Syntrus Achmea Pensioenbeheer NV