Composition as of May 2020
The Accountability Council believes that the standard of governance is good. In formulating policy and implementing it, the Board has taken the interests of all members into account as much as possible. The fund acted in accordance with legislation and regulations, the articles of association, and the fund's regulations.
2020 was an extraordinary year. The global pandemic impacted the pension fund on all fronts: management, supervision and accountability all took place almost exclusively via video conferencing from March 2020. The SPF administrator, DPS, also operated almost exclusively from home. And last but not least, in March the global capital markets took a considerable hit, resulting in a deterioration in the fund’s financial situation.
In April, the Board developed an emergency procedure that would be enacted if the pandemic were to prevent the Board from being able to operate. With respect to finances, the funding level recovered toward the end of the year. Interest rates remained historically low, but share prices recovered. A consistent investment policy contributed to this.
In its general evaluation,
the Accountability Council was positive about the Board's policy decisions in 2020.
The same also applies to the decisiveness they demonstrated in these unique circumstances.
What did the Accountability Council issue recommendations on?
In 2020 the Accountability Council issued positive advice on the Communication Policy for 2020 to 2022. The amendments to the Administration Agreement as a result of the connection of SHPP companies that being spun off from SABIC. The Accountability Council approved the amendments to the Administration Agreement.
Finally, the Accountability Council issued positive advice regarding the Remuneration policy amendments, which incorporated expenses for training for Supervisory Board members. Willeke Ong’s first term as member of the Supervisory Board came to a close at the end of 2020. The Accountability Council issued binding advice to the Board to reappoint her for a four-year period as of January 1, 2021.
The Accountability Council's spearheads for 2021
In early 2020, the Accountability Council noted that it wished to take a more proactive approach toward the Board. The Pension agreement is a particular dossier in which the Accountability Council wishes to be involved at an early stage, partly because the Accountability Council makes an important contribution at a later stage in the transition toward a new pension contract.
Important topics will be scheduled according to the Board’s annual agenda, and the Executive Board will be asked to address these in the periodic consultation.
The Accountability Council started a self-evaluation in 2020. This was completed in February 2021. The Accountability Council is generally satisfied with its own performance and its relationship with the Executive Board and the other fund bodies. A focus point is to ensure that the Board’s annual plan is leading for the consultation agenda, rather than the Board decisions. With respect to a training plan, the coming period will focus on the introduction of the new Pension agreement.
The complete evaluation by the Accountability Council and the response from SPF's Board to the evaluation can be read in SPF's annual report.