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Initial assessment – Sample questions - Pension funds


Published: 24 February 2017

Below are some examples of actual fitness assessment interview questions, categorised according to the topics that we consider in assessments.


  • What is your motivation for considering this position?
  • What will be your strategy for the organisation/what will you focus on?
  • What does Pensioen123 mean?

Operational management and communications:

  • What are the most significant internal challenges for the organisation?
  • What is the pension fund's governance model?
  • How does the board perform self-assessments?

Relevant laws and regulations:

  • What are the requirements for outsourcing under the Pensions Act?

Pension schemes and types:

  • Can you explain the differences between DB, DC and CDC schemes?
  • Which scheme or schemes does your fund administer?
  • Which risks do DB schemes have? Which risks do DC schemes have?

Financial and actuarial aspects, including funding, investments, actuarial principles and reinsurance:

  • What are the main characteristics of your fund's investment policy?
  • How do you control interest rate risk?
  • What is the impact of falling interest rates on the fund's liabilities? And on investments?
  • Which differences do you observe between self-administered and insured pension plans?

DNB has published a guidance that describes the required levels of investment knowledge for candidates and formulates questions. It distinguishes three main profiles for investment knowledge in the form of a general, a specific and an expert profile. This guidance is available in Dutch only.

Administrative organisation (AO) and internal control (IC):

  • What are the characteristics of AO/IC and what are the benefits of adequate structuring?
  • What does the actuarial and technical business report describe (Actuariële en bedrijfstechnische nota – ABTN)?
  • Does the ABTN adequately describe the financial structure?


  • Which criteria would you apply when selecting an asset manager?
  • How does the fund manage outsourcing risks?
  • How does the fund control the costs of outsourcing? How does the fund define acceptable cost levels?

The team of board members of which the candidate will be part:

  • What value will you be adding to the team?
  • What are the strong points of the team? And the weaker points?
  • By which additional competencies or expertise would the team benefit in your opinion?
  • Given your specific expertise, which supervisory board members are most likely to offer countervailance?


  • Can you describe a recent situation where you showed critical and decisive behaviour?
  • How do you exert influence within the team? Can you give an example?
  • How do you deal with conflicts of interest?
  • What are your pitfalls?
  • How do you, as the chair, ensure that all members deliver an active contribution to meetings Can you give an example of this?
  • How do you combine your different positions?
  • Could you devote more time to this position, if the circumstances so require? Which position would you give up or reduce in that case?


  • We found that you failed to disclose a particular piece of your professional history in the Propriety Assessment Form. Why is this?
  • What happened?
  • What have you learned?

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