Ingmar Minderhoud - board member CDC Pensioenfondsen
Your pension is relevant now!
An interview with 32-year-old Ingmar Minderhoud, who joined the board of the CDC pension funds of ING and NN Group in April this year. The board acts in the interests of the employees, former employees and pensioners. As a member of the board, Ingmar’s areas of focus are finance and risk. He works at NN Investment partners.
Could you tell us what you do at NN Investment partners?
I’m a fiduciary manager in the Integrated Client Solutions department. We advise pension fund boards, insurance companies, BeFrank PPI (a defined contribution pension institution) and the National APF (general pension fund) on policy matters, asset management, investments and pension plans varying from DB plans to individual DC plans.
So pension is your daily work?
Yes it is, and I'm sure that will help me in my new role as board member of the CDC pension funds. That will help me understand both sides, both in my day-to-day work and in my role as a board member. We have a knowledgeable board that's active and engaged, while we're also well supported by our own professional board bureau. I know from experience that not every pension fund board has that much knowledge and capability.
“Until then my thinking had been just like that of any other student: pension is an issue for older people. But that’s far from true!”
You studied economics and econometrics and started in the pension sector as a student. How did that happen?
I first studied econometrics in Tilburg. Alongside the mathematical subjects, I took applied courses such as ALM and pension system design. ALM stands for Asset Liability Management. These courses gave me insight into the impact of policy instruments and choices on risks and return. The lecturers were inspiring people with great influence in the pension sector. I was introduced to Netspar, a think tank and knowledge network for pensions and ageing in the Netherlands and Europe, and discovered the challenges of the pension world. Topics included how to deal with the economic consequences of an ageing population.
What made you aware of pension at a young age?
Until then my thinking had been just like that of any other student: pension is an issue for older people. But that’s far from true. Pension is relevant now and it's a dynamic topic! We all know the Dutch pension debate has been going on for many years and the outlines for a new national pension agreement were recently agreed upon. In the meantime, there have been some serious changes. The CDC pension funds of ING and NN Group execute the CDC pension plans, under which contributions are fixed, while the result isn’t. The risk that there will be less pension than expected has been shifted from the employers to the employees.
Are you a thinker or a doer?
I did my master's thesis in econometrics at pension administrator APG and won the Netspar master thesis award. I considered doing a PhD and enrolled in a research master in economics to prepare for that, only to discover that pure research was not my thing. So I finished the research master and got a job to gain professional experience. My experience and interest in ALM combined with my quantitative background turned out to be the ideal bridge between research and practice. I started at Ortec Finance as a scenario specialist and then became a consultant focusing on the Asian market. After that, I joined NN Investment Partners, which was ING Investment Management at the time. Our team consists of over 50 professionals. At 32, I am one of the youngest colleagues, but I do have several years of experience to build on.
How did you get involved in the CDC pension funds of ING and NN?
My social engagement. I like to think about socially relevant themes and I know a lot about pensions. I took the workshops provided by Pension Lab, a platform where young people can discuss the reform of the Dutch pension system. It's very important that young people have a say in this matter. After all, it’s also about us! I was a member of the accountability board of NN CDC Pensioenfonds and contributed to our Pension Fund Academy. All these activities plus my background drew the attention of the board of the CDC pension funds.
“The elaborate Pension Planner offered by the CDC pension funds is an eye-opener.”
What is your area of focus in the CDC pension funds and what challenges do you see there?
My areas of focus are finance and risk. The funds are currently ‘in control’. My challenges are not specifically related to finance and risk. Pension is an important employment condition. As an employee, you build up pension in your employer's pension plan, for which the employer's contribution is substantial. In a CDC pension plan, the annual contributions are fixed while the annual benefits are not. Your pension accrual, pension benefits and future pension increases are all linked to the financial position of the CDC pension funds. The risk that your pension will not be enough to cover your future needs or wishes is your own risk. Our challenge is to make participants and former participants aware of that risk. Being aware of your financial situation now and in the future helps you take control and make well-informed pension choices. The elaborate Pension Planner offered by the CDC pension funds is an eye-opener in that respect.
You are a participant of the CDC pension plan, just like the colleagues you represent. How does that affect your role as a board member?
I hope the younger employees working at ING and NN can identify themselves with me. We’re all in the same phase of life and have similar life styles, I would think. I’m younger than the average pension fund board member, but of course I do act in the interest of all colleagues, former colleagues and pensioners. I hope to get participants on board and convince them to check the Pension Planner or visit one of the pension events. Pension is more relevant now than you’d think.
Where can we find you when you're not at work?
My private life is just as hectic as my work. I have two young children; a 2.5-year-old daughter and a son who’s almost 1.5. Of course, they need attention and sometimes keep me up at night. I also try to work out three times a week and meet with friends once in a while. Once a year, my wife and I go away for a weekend to relax. I love going to the beach. I was born and raised in the Dutch province of Zeeland, which has the best beaches and always makes me feel at home and on holidays at the same time.