At least eight pension administrators are often late in providing pension information to participants. The information that is provided is not always correct either. This is concluded by the Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM) on the basis of an investigation performed at eight pension administrators and their communication towards participants. Although this concerned a random sample, the AFM does not exclude the possibility that other pension administrators do not comply with the statutory requirements either.
The investigation has shown that the mandatory information to new or leaving participants is not sent or sent too late. The pension amounts stated are sometimes incorrect or unverifiable. The pension administrators that have been investigated identify late delivery of data by employers as main cause for these findings. The pension funds and insurers are, however, themselves responsible for communication with participants. The AFM calls on pension administrators to conclude sound agreements with employers in order to prevent these mistakes. The AFM calls on pension administrators to ensure that start and exit information is actually provided.
The AFM implements formal measures against one or more pension administrators involved, fines may be imposed. At the same time, the funds and insurers have to improve their information provision themselves.
Structure of the investigation
In 2011, the AFM performed an investigation at eight pension administrators; six pension funds and two insurers. These pension funds and insurers were selected on the basis of signals from the markets, reports from consumers, the findings of Self Assessments and findings from other investigation. It appeared from the investigation that the pension administrators did show improvement, but there were also signs that necessitated further investigation.
Late or incorrect delivery by employers
The AFM identified shortcomings in the field of participant communication at each of the eight investigated pension administrators with an increased risk. Amounts stated by the various pension funds on the Uniform Pension Overview (UPO) and on www.mijnpensioenoverzicht.nl are sometimes not exact or their accuracy cannot be verified, for example as a result of the use of incorrect reference dates of late delivery of salary data. In its 'Report on UPO Accuracy' rom October 2010, the AFM argued for pension regulations and UPO's that are as simple as possible.
The investigation furthermore shows that pension administrators regularly do not send the mandatory start or exit information, or send it too late, when a participants enters or leaves employment. In the majority of the cases, the cause was (too) late delivery of data by employers.
The pension administrator has ultimate responsibility
Pensions administrators remain ultimately responsible for timely and full provision of information. During the next checks, the AFM expects that pension administrators will be able to demonstrate that they have made every effort to receive the required information from the employers on time. So that the information prescribed by law is available to participants on time. Specific agreements may be incorporated in the administration agreement between employers and pension administrators.
As the eight investigated pension administrators were selected on the basis of risk, it cannot be concluded that the quality of information and/or compliance with legislation and regulations is in a bad condition at all pension administrators. It is a fact, however, that efficient exchange of information with employers is very important to all pension administrators in order to get the correct information to participants on time.
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.