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De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) is responsible for prudential and material supervision of pension funds, premium pension institutions (PPIs) and pension insurers. Prudential supervision focuses on the financial soundness of pension funds and their contribution to financial stability. Material supervision includes the assessment of pension funds' articles of association, pension scheme rules and pension contracts.

Pension funds which are formed in the Netherlands and limit their activities to administering Dutch pension agreements need not apply to DNB for authorisation. However, these pension funds must give advance notification to DNB. General pension funds (Algemeen pensioenfonds, APF, in Dutch) however must hold an authorisation in order to pursue the business of a general pension fund in the Netherlands. De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) is responsible for issuing such authorisations and for supervising APFs. APFs may start operating only after the authorisation has been granted.

All pension funds must comply with several statutory requirements. On the one hand, these requirements serve to promote pension funds' financial soundness (prudential requirements), on the other they focus on control structures and the relationship between employees, employers and pension funds (material requirements). The Dutch Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM) is responsible for market conduct supervision. Together, these prudential, material and conduct requirements aim to protect the interests of pension fund members, deferred members and pensioners.

Prudential requirements

The Pensions Act – for company pension funds and industry-wide pension funds, the Mandatory Occupational Pension Scheme Act (Wet verplichte beroepspensioenregeling) – for occupational pension funds, and the secondary legislation based on these laws impose prudential requirements on pension funds in the following areas (please note that the list below is non-exhaustive):

  • propriety of policymakers
  • expertise of policymakers
  • ethical operational management
  • sound operational management
  • outsourcing of activities
  • contents of the actuarial and technical business report
  • minimum required own funds
  • technical provisions
  • conditional indexation financing

Material requirements

The Pensions Act – for company pension funds and industry-wide pension funds, the Mandatory Occupational Pension Scheme Act (Wet verplichte beroepspensioenregeling) – for occupational pension funds, and the secondary legislation based on these laws impose material requirements on pension funds in the following areas (please note that the list below is non-exhaustive):

  • administration agreement between the employer and the pension fund
  • pension scheme rules between the pension fund and its members
  • contents of the pension fund's articles of association
  • composition of the pension fund board
  • existence and composition of a members' council and accountability body
  • transfer of pension assets
  • equal treatment (e.g. of men and women).

Elaboration in secondary legislation

These requirements have been elaborated in greater detail in secondary legislation and concern all kinds of operational, technical and financial aspects as well as related risks.

If you have any questions about the supervision of pension funds in the Netherlands, please contact us.

More information about cross-border operation of pension schemes