The AC noted that the recommendations for 2020 and the priorities for 2021, as identified in the 2020 AC report, have only been partly implemented. The discussion about the fund’s future positioning, the related governance, and the pension administration organization’s robustness study are still ongoing. The development of the communication policy plan into a more strategic communication policy plan also did not materialize in 2021. All outstanding issues have been included in the 2021 recommendations and 2022 priorities.
In the AC’s opinion, the policy adopted by the Board and the decisions taken by the Board in 2021 were in the interests of members, deferred members, and pension beneficiaries. In taking decisions, the Board acted in a balanced way and considered the interests of all stakeholders in its decision-making. The Board also effectively incorporated the AC’s formal and informal advice and recommendations.
The AC is making the following recommendations, based on its findings:
Future Pensions Act transition
- Keep the AC involved in the transition process (and the distinct phases of orientation, employment conditions, transfer, and implementation).
- Finalize the roadmap in the short term, including the points on which action is expected from the AC, and indicate clear timelines and deadlines to prevent the AC running out of time at the end of the process.
- Facilitate timely and effective knowledge building within the AC so that it can fulfil its role.
- Finalize phase 2 of the robustness study and share the outcomes with the AC.
- In view of the time required for the transition process, exert pressure on the employer to take a position on how the pension employment conditions will be organized in the future and make an inventory of the developments at the employer, DSM, the affiliated companies, and the Sabic pension fund, and identify the possible consequences and risks of this for PDN.
Follow our 2021 recommendation regarding evaluating the current governance model to determine the desired future governance structure, specifically taking the transition process into account.
- Make a realistic estimate of the indexation possibilities for the coming years and provide members with clear information on the anticipated actual development of their rights in the coming years.
- Account for the failure to achieve the indexation ambition and the factors that influenced this in an easy to read annual report and other publications.
- Ensure that members really understand how their rights will develop (in a positive, negative, and most probable scenario) and what this means for their income now (pension beneficiaries) and in the future (members and deferred members). Encourage members to think about outcomes and the opportunities they have to take additional measures themselves.
- The AC advocates including funding level projections in the future section of the Management Report as well as the impact that realizing these projections may have on possible indexation.
- As Board, define communication beliefs and anchor these in the strategic communication vision.
- Produce transparent, easily to understand, timely, and proactive communications based on social partner agreements regarding contributions with respect to accrual of new rights and the consequences for members’ future income situation.
- Ensure that members are stimulated to read the communicated message and act on this, if necessary.
- Explain to PPS members the consequences of the risk aversion policy for adjustments to their accrued capital.
- A greater focus in the annual letter on how Net Pension Scheme yield impacts individual pension payments.
- Inform members more intensively about sustainability agenda steps the fund has already taken and planned further developments. Also inform them of the relationship between sustainability and yield.
Priorities for 2022
The most important priorities on which the AC aims to focus in 2022 are:
- Planning (roadmap) and progress of the Future Pensions Act transition process, including specific knowledge acquisition within the AC. Partly in relation to this, the fund’s future strategic vision and governance structure, taking the pension administration organization’s robustness study into account;
- The current administration agreement, which has a term of two years and ends at the end of 2022. The agreement includes the option to extend the agreement one time for a year. The AC will closely monitor developments in this respect, particularly compliance with the agreement that the negative funding level impact of the new accrual of rights must not exceed 1% over the 2021-2025 period;
- The development of actions foreseen in the members’ own risk assessment (ERB) and, where appropriate, addressing trigger points;
- Communications regarding how and to what extent the fund’s ambition (full compensation for wage or price inflation) will be realized;
- Monitoring the development of a strategic vision on communications.