Most pension funds and insurers comply with the statutory obligations to provide information such as sending introductory and discontinuation letters and the Uniform Pension Overview (UPO). The vast majority of pension administrators is also affiliated with www.mijnpensioenoverzicht.nl. This is evident from the AFM's 2011 Pension Administrators Self Assessment. The provision of information has improved when compared with the previous measurement in 2008. Generally speaking, pension funds score better than insurers. The pension administrators have been informed of the required and desired improvements. Signs of possible noncompliance will be investigated further.
Obligation to provide information
Pension administrators have a number of statutory obligations. For example, they are required to provide new participants with all essential information about their new pension scheme by means of a so-called 'introductory letter'. In addition, each participant receives a 'discontinuation letter' following termination of active participation. Active and work disabled participants should also receive an individual value overview known as the Uniform Pension Overview (UPO) each year. Moreover, this overview must be provided in a timely fashion. The AFM inspects pension funds and insurers for their compliance with this obligation, inter alia by means of periodic self assessments.
Pension administrators are required to provide the introductory letter within three months after commencement of employment. Six pension funds (1.7%) do not send the introductory letter on time, while two thirds of the nineteen investigated insurers do not provide the introductory letter on time. If someone no longer participates in a pension scheme, he or she should receive a discontinuation letter in time. A quarter of the insurers and 7% of the pension funds send the discontinuation letter later than six months or not all. The introductory letter or the discontinuation letter does contain all mandatory information in nearly all cases. All active participants received their 2010 UPO before the deadline of 1 October 2011 at 96% of the pension funds and 84% of the insurers. Work disabled employees received their UPO in time less often; 83% of the pension funds and two thirds of the insurers sent the UPO to the work disabled employees in time.
The pensions register has been operational via mijnpensioenoverzicht.nl since January 2011. This is where participants can view their accrued old age pension and how much pension they have and with which pension administrator. Over 2.7 million Dutch citizens have already used mijnpensioenoverzicht.nl. The vast majority of pension administrators is connected to the pensions register. 95% of the pension funds make all old age pension entitlements available via the pensions register and 84% of the insurers make all old age pension entitlements available. A total of over 96% of all old age pension entitlements is available via:
Generally speaking, pension funds comply better with the obligation to provide information than insurers. The various types of pension funds (sectoral pension funds, occupational pension funds and company pension funds) do not differ much from each other as regards their scores. Small pension funds perform better on average than insurers, but relatively worse than large pension funds.
The AFM performs further investigation at pension administrators that, on the basis of the self assessment, do not appear to comply with all statutory obligations to provide information.
The self assessment was performed in the summer of 2011. The AFM provided the findings of the Self Assessment to the individual pension administrators as feedback, including a benchmark score (the average score of the pensions funds or the insurers). Pension administrators now know what improvements are possible or necessary by assuming the optimal answers published by the AFM on the website. The Self Assessment also included questions for the purpose of the evaluation of pension legislation. This evaluation, performed on the instructions of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment, will be published by the end of this year.
The AFM promotes fairness and transparency within financial markets. We are the independent supervisory authority for the savings, lending, investment and insurance markets. The AFM promotes the conscientious provision of financial services to consumers and supervises the honest and efficient operation of the capital markets. Our aim is to improve consumers’ and the business sector’s confidence in the financial markets, both in the Netherlands and abroad. In performing this task the AFM contributes to the prosperity and economic reputation of the Netherlands.
The AFM is committed to promoting fair and transparent financial markets.
As an independent market conduct authority, we contribute to a sustainable financial system and prosperity in the Netherlands.