“Preparing for the Transition”


At the threshold of the transition to a new pension system, Netspar continued in 2021 where it left off, producing a great deal of research and publications in the field of pensions, retirement, and aging. Yet, everything was different than usual, of course, because of the pandemic, which also posed challenges for organizing events and discussions and generating publicity. Just like so many others, our motto was: more online, less in person.

Last year was interesting for another reason, as well. While the new Pension Agreement itself was in place, the legislation was not. Moreover, with the fall of the Dutch cabinet in January, it would be a while before we would learn exactly what that legislation might look like and how all the loose ends would be tied up. This did not mean that Netspar suddenly had no more work to do; on the contrary, the very preparations for the transition entailed an enormous amount of work yet again in 2021.

Netspar has traditionally focused not only on issues playing out in the short term, but at least as much, if not more so, on those driving long-term developments in old-age provisions. That does not take away from the fact, however, that at this particular juncture, people are looking to Netspar to ensure that the transition to a new pension system will be based on sound scientific knowledge. We stand united in our commitment to fulfilling the role of honest broker once more.

Wouter Bos
Chair of the Supervisory Board

Netspar Is Growing Stronger

Another thing that continued unabated was the acquisition of new partners. We are very proud to say that Netspar strengthened its ranks in 2021 with the pension funds of Rail&OV, SMPS, and Shell – and other serious acquisition prospects are in the works. Our pursuit of a broader base of support is an indication of how relevant Netspar’s research is for the entire pension and retirement industry.

Another important reinforcement last year was Mathijs van Dijk joining the Board of Directors. His knowledge of socially responsible investing aligns wonderfully with the moves in the industry to make pensions more significant in that regard, as well.

Meanwhile, the Supervisory Board was reinforced by adding another seat. Having a broadly diverse composition helps us support the Board of Directors with the strategy and action plan for 2023-2027 and act as a sounding board as needed or wanted.

In addition, and on the advice of the Foundation Board, the Netspar bylaws were amended in 2021. The set terms of office were dropped for members of the Foundation Board and the possibility of appointing a permanent replacement was introduced, so that a partner can always issue its own vote in the Foundation Board meetings.

Purposefully in the Spotlight

As part of the lead-up to the new action plan, Netspar underwent evaluation. What stood out from this was the high regard for its scientific and social value. That is an impressive accomplishment. The evaluations also revealed that our concerns about rising costs and stagnating contributions are shared by others: 2022 will be a year in which we tackle this challenge head-on.

Foundation Board and Supervisory Board Agendas

Both the Foundation Board and the Supervisory Board met once in person and once online in 2021. On the agenda for the spring meetings were the annual report and annual financial statements, the preparations for the 2023-2027 Action Plan, and the follow-up regarding the recommendations from the strategic committee and modification of the bylaws. In addition, the Foundation Board provided advice for selecting project groups and supported Netspar’s submitting a proposal for an NWA-ORC call. For its part, the Supervisory Board also discussed its own size and composition, partly in response to the departure of some members.

At the fall meetings in 2021, the work plan and budget for 2022, bylaws amendments, knowledge agenda, and 2023-2027 Action Plan were discussed. Also on the agenda for the Supervisory Board meeting were, furthermore, the introduction of the new board members and the retirement schedule for board members.

In April, the Foundation Board voted unanimously to nominate Annette Mosman as a member of the Supervisory Board to replace Gerard van Olphen, who stepped down. In September, the Foundation Board voted unanimously to appoint Inge van den Doel (to replace Roos Vermeij, who stepped down) and Laura van Geest to the Supervisory Board. The Labor Foundation also appointed Willem Noordman to succeed Tuur Elzinga on the Supervisory Board.

Moving Forward

Another year has passed and 2021 is behind us. I want to thank all of our staff and partners who helped us make it through a difficult year and whose combined forces make Netspar possible and stronger.

For them, as for all of us, it looks like 2022 will be a very different year. We will be able to meet in person again. We are confident that this will imbue all the exchanges of insights and opinions Netspar plans to organize this year with renewed energy. That is something we can definitely use this close to the big transition to a new pension system, and we are ready to put our backs into it. Hopefully, we can count on the continued support of all of you!

Wouter Bos
Chair of the Supervisory Board

Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is a thinktank and knowledge network. Netspar is dedicated to promoting a wider understanding of the economic and social implications of pensions, aging and retirement in the Netherlands and Europe.


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