“I’ve been working at APG for 23 years, but every day is different”

Published on: 3 November 2023

Who are these people who consciously choose to work in the pension sector? What do they do there all day for your pension? And what do they like about their work? We take you behind the scenes of Wesley Verouden, Procurement Officer at APG. “As long as I’m enjoying it and APG wants me here, I’ll stay.”

We’re good at coming up with difficult job titles at APG, but yours seems pretty obvious. You mainly deal with procurement. Or am I wrong about that?

“You’re not far off. As Procurement Officer with a focus on Marketing and Communications, I support the business in contracting with external suppliers, among other things. It is fun and super varied. I think that's why I’ve been working for APG for 23 years. I always have the urge to that. Like, why have I been working for the same employer for so long? Because that is not that common these days. But the procurement projects I do are always different. Each time, I get to work with different colleagues, different services that have to be purchased and different contacts at the service providers. So I may be with the same employer, but every day is different. Plus, I have been able to develop myself. I've taken training courses, switched between departments, had other positions; APG has given me so many options. That also helps. So, as long as I’m enjoying it, and APG wants me here, I’ll stay. Now that I’m saying this, I realize that I’m still defending why I’ve been working for APG for 23 years.”


So, there are no disadvantages to working for the same employer all these years?

“The advantages outweigh the benefits, but there are some minor downsides, of course. What are they? Well, many people know how to find you, including for things that don’t belong on your plate. Then I help them, or at least help them on their way. I don’t leave anyone to their own devices. That’s not in my character. I am social and a connector, something that also fits well with APG.”


What does an average workday look like for you?

“Diverse. For example, there is a lot of coordination with the various areas of expertise within APG. After all, contracting external parties is preceded by a whole process. This requires regular contact with clients, lawyers, contract managers, privacy and security officers. I have a directing role in the procurement process, but always add that it is a team effort. Because the Marketing & Proposition department operates in a participant-focused way, and performs many services for pension funds, we often have to deal with participant data. In these processes, the main focus is on securing the risks. On the basis of risk analyses, we assess the external parties and define the requirements they must meet.”

I have a directing role in the procurement process, but always add that it is a team effort

Is the latter becoming more important now that the renewed pension system is coming?

“Yes, absolutely. Our clients, the pension funds, are also asking more and more questions about this. That also means, for example, that we are tightening up our agreements with suppliers and making the procurement process very transparent. We are not obliged to tender, but we do want to be clear in the choices we make and what we spend the money on. But this does not only apply to us; the renewed system has an impact on the entire organization. When there are changes in complex matters like pensions, which have a significant impact on the participant, I believe it is important to communicate about this as simply and transparently as possible. Thanks to the knowledge and commitment of my colleagues, I am confident that we will be able to update participants about changes as much as possible along the way.”


You said it yourself: pensions are a complex matter. Have you done any training in this regard?

“Not specifically. At APG you get every opportunity to develop yourself. That is what I have done with the support of the People & Change department. After graduating from Heao, I took a number of procurement courses and rolled into the procurement function. At the time I was given the opportunity to work in the logistics department within ABP’s facilities department for six weeks. Those six weeks turned into 23 years.”


How do people react when you tell them what kind of work you do?

“Pensions and procurement; people usually can’t reconcile that. They wonder what I buy. After all, most people think of products, while it is mainly services that I purchase. Think of contracting parties who help APG with market research, marketing and/or communication, photography, innovation projects, translation services, annual reports and consultancy assignments, among other things. All in all, various areas of attention, all with important stakeholders. This motivates me enormously; by listening carefully, understanding the needs and taking a pragmatic approach to the collaborations, our departments enter into contracts with external parties. Contracts that help APG achieve its objectives.”


You have a busy job. What do you do in your spare time?

“My athletic focus is on preparing for the New York marathon. I spent a lot of my leisure time on that in the past few months. This Sunday we’ll see if that paid off. I am hoping to reach the finish in Central Park (Manhattan, ed) with a smile, after a 42-kilometer run. When I get back, there will undoubtedly be work-related challenges waiting for me, but that is always the case in the procurement field. That’s what makes it fun.”