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Leiden researchers start evaluation of internal supervision in Dutch pension sector

Researchers Dr. Natascha van der Zwan and Dr. Philipp Golka from the Institute for Public Administration have started an evaluation of Dutch pension funds at the request of the Monitoringcommissie Code Pensioenfondsen. Focus of the evaluation is the role of internal supervision in ensuring good governance in the Dutch pension sector.

The research project has three focus areas. First, the project investigates the role of internal supervision in safeguarding trust from current, past and retired pension members and aims to uncover avenues through which this role can be strengthened further. Second, the project aims to evaluate the role of internal supervision in ensuring diversity and inclusion within Dutch pension funds. Third, the role of internal supervision for enhancing the learning capacity of Dutch pension funds is investigated, while respective good practices are identified. A particular emphasis is placed on understanding if and how internal supervisors use the Code Pensioenfondsen in their activities.

In order to address these research questions, the researchers will use quantitative and qualitative methods. First, a survey that addresses all Dutch pension funds will be conducted, as well as a number of in-depth interviews. The research results will be shared with pension professionals during two roundtable discussions organized by the MCPF, to take place in September 2021. In a second phase of the project, the researchers will conduct in-depth case studies of internal supervision within specific pension funds. These findings will be coupled with results from the NORFACE-funded DEEPEN project, of which the Leiden team is part of, that investigates pension fund governance across Europe.

With pension assets of approximately €1.7 trillion, the Dutch pension sector is not only one of the most developed in the world, but also of vital importance to the Dutch economy. As the internal supervision function is still relatively new in Dutch pension governance, investigating how it works in practice and drawing lessons for the future has a far-reaching social impact. As Dutch pension funds hold significant stakes across the global economy, pension fund governance represents a crucial lever for achieving a more inclusive, equitable and sustainable economy.

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