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.

As head of the pension administration, I regularly manage projects that are aimed at administering the pension scheme. A number of years ago, Arnoud Ringelberg was commissioned to manage a project for us that focussed on the shift in retirement age from 65 to 67. The implementation of the project involved several activities, including the controlled conversion of data, communication, staffing of project roles, and monitoring progress and budget. Arnoud helped ensure that the project was completed successfully and on time. His always-positive and energetic approach helped our project staff remain focussed, and his progress reports helped build clients' trust in our ability to bring the project to a successful completion. We have made use of Arnoud’s services on numerous occasions since then, and we’ve always been satisfied with the results.

 

Tjalling Luidinga, Shell Pensioenbureau Nederland B.V.