Dutch pension assets in Belgium-based IORPs are set to increase by several billions of euros over the next year if Dutch companies’ current plans are realised, according to the Belgian regulator (FSMA).Speaking at Amsterdam’s Free University, Luk Behets, an adviser on the prudential supervision of pension funds at the FSMA, said the assets of Dutch schemes considering relocation currently represented one-quarter of pension fund assets in Belgium, worth approximately €23bn.Behets said Belgian IORPs were now implementing seven Dutch pension plans, with combined assets of €550m, adding that this equated with 60% of assets in cross-border arrangements.While he said the FSMA expected “firm decisions” to be taken this year, he did not provide a figure for the number of schemes considering a cross-border move or the names of their sponsors. It has recently come to light that multinational companies DuPont, ExxonMobil, BP, General Electric and Aon are planning to place their Dutch pension funds into a Belgium-based IORP.Also speaking at the congress, Rick Hoogendoorn, a pensions policy expert at the Dutch regulator (DNB), said DNB was satisfied with the security of pension rights in Belgium.He cited the use of a similar discount rate for Dutch pension rights, the application of Dutch social and labour legislation and “strong, friendly ties” with the FSMA.Hoogendoorn also noted that, in Belgium, the risk of rights cuts depends largely on the risk of non-payment by the sponsor as a consequence of the usual sponsor’s guarantee.He said the regulator did not consider this a problem from a supervisory point of view.A couple of years ago, Johnson & Johnson lost a lawsuit against DNB, which rejected the company’s request to allocate 60% of its portfolio to equities, with an interest hedge of no more than 10%.The pharmaceutical’s Belgian scheme has now adopted just such a strategy.Responding to the case, Hoogendoorn pointed out that, in the Netherlands, the regulator is prohibited from taking a sponsor’s guarantee into account when assessing the prudence of a scheme’s investment policy.He also observed that no Dutch pension funds, low-cost DC vehicles or insurers were currently carrying out cross-border pension arrangements for foreign schemes.
Manama, Bahrain — Greensburg native, Jacob Atkinson is part of a team working to maintain a naval base in one of the world’s most volatile regions.Seebee, Atkinson is an electrcian at the Manama, Bahrain Navy base, forward deployed to the Arabian Gulf as part of Navy’s 5th Fleet. The area of operation encompasses about 2.5 million square miles of water including the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and portions of the Indian Ocean. Strategic choke points like the Straight of Hormuz, the Suez Canal and the Strait of Bab al Mandeb at the southern tip of Yemen are also in the operations area.“I’m proud to be a Seebee,” said Atkinson. “As a constructionman, I do general electrical maintenance and install or remove any electrical equipment. I like being a Seabee. I can walk across this base and see work we’ve done to improve life here. Presently, we are installing LED lights, which can save significant money for the Navy. What I like about this command is that it’s like family,” said Atkinson. “I’ve learned about Islam and its people. The culture here is very different, but I’ve really come to appreciate it.”Members of the naval construction force in Bahrain provide support to U.S. and coalition forces operating throughout the 5th Fleet’s area of operation.