Currently, pension funds are busy seeking new board members and internal supervisors – following new governance legislation which is to come into force on 1 July – who all need to pass an assessment by DNB.Kellerman indicated that even people who have never been on a pension fund’s board could pass the test. “We not only assess individual board members, but also look at the board as a unit. Therefore, a fresh look could be a welcome addition to the collective,” she said.“The smartest person is not by definition the best board member,”she continued. “We also assess whether he or she can hold his or her ground within the board.”According to audience members at the conference, appointing external board members could prove advantageous. “They are motivated specialists with expertise, as they are familiar with other board and know best practices,” summarised Jillert Blom of Fidelity Worldwide Investment. “And if they don’t fit, the board can replace them with others.”“They also provide a cheap way of acquiring expertise,” argued Olav Loeber, an adviser for the National Register for external board members.“The costs of having an external board member for one day a week is €25,000 a year. This compares very favourably with the costs of a consultant.”That said, according to Blom, a pension fund’s long-term policy and culture is not guaranteed, if it has too many external board members. “For the internal communication, it is important that a board member knows the sector or the company,” he pointed out.Frans Prins, director of the €4bn pension fund PWRI, remained sceptical about external board members, and fretted about the costs of somebody who did not know the sector.In his opinion, it would not prevent the need for a consultant, “as an external board member also understands very well that he needs an actuary”.Therefore pension funds should take care themselves of a proper education of their board members, he made clear. Dutch pension funds could benefit from dissenting views on their board, as those espousing them could provide a fresh perspective and encourage proper decision-making, Joanne Kellerman, director pension funds at supervisor De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) has argued.“A colleague who doesn’t agree with business as usual, could act as an eye opener for risks or problems others fail to spot,” she said during a symposion of magazine Pensioen Bestuur & Management (PBM) last week.In her opinion, dissidents on the board could be external experts on risk or asset management, pensioners or younger participants.“Expertise and diversity are useful on a board,” she stressed.
Manchester City midfielder Jack Rodwell hopes to be back from his latest injury setback by the end of the month. The highly-rated Rodwell joined the champions in a £12million deal from Everton last summer but his City career is yet to take off. His initial performances were indifferent and he then had a short spell out with a groin injury before being struck by more hamstring trouble in October. Rodwell’s early years at Goodison Park were also plagued by hamstring injuries. He has since worked hard on his fitness and made a number of lifestyle changes to try to eradicate the recurring problem. He insists he is not disheartened by this latest setback. He said: “I was more upset for our physio department who have been fantastic and have helped me feel stronger than ever before. We’ve had a discussion and we all agree that the best course of action is to continue what we were doing before because it worked so well. “This is an injury that can strike at any time to anyone and I’m sure it is something that I’ll be rid of before too long, but it’s an ongoing process and something that can’t be rushed.” Manager Roberto Mancini is likely to update on the fitness of two key players before the end of the week. Captain Vincent Kompany has missed the last seven games with calf problems while striker Sergio Aguero’s knee injury has sidelined him for two matches. Mancini said last week he hoped both would be back in contention for this Saturday’s trip to Everton. Rodwell pulled up with the latest in a long line of hamstring problems in the first half of last week’s Barclays Premier League win at Aston Villa. The 22-year-old had been making just his second start since returning from a three-month lay-off in January. Rodwell told the club’s website, www.mcfc.co.uk: “Obviously you don’t want to tempt fate but I’m not looking at this as a lengthy absence and I hope to be back in a couple of weeks. Hopefully I can play my part in the run-in and help us win some silverware and end what has been a frustrating season on a high.” Press Association