APG employee Kim Damoiseaux is the convincing winner of the SPO Essay Award. Her essay ‘De complexiteit van Flexibiliteit’ (The Complexity of Flexibility), subtitled ‘Een nieuwe extra keuzemogelijkheid bij pensioneren, de lumpsum’ (A new additional choice upon retirement, the lumpsum) stood out this year amongst all other submissions. The original selected title alone already appealed to the imagination of the jury, consisting of Guus Wouters, Emilie Schols and Ellen van Amersfoort.
The SPO Essay Award was issued this year for the thirteenth time. A total of five nominees competed for the coveted award, among which four employees of APG. An independent expert jury assessed all essays in terms of practical applicability, current events, innovative insights, personal vision and substantiation. All matters Kim's essay met very well.
Damoiseaux writes about the lumpsum in her essay: the new option added to the lumpsum payment of pension benefits. The lumpsum offers the participant more flexibility, but also adds more complexity for both the participant and the pension fund.
The jury motivates its decision: “The essay excels by the clear linguistic style and the correct & factional body of argument. Along the line of a clear structure, Kim manages to present the topic discussed very well and to take the reader along in her narrative. The source reference shows that proper and in-depth literature research was undertaken. Kim has selected a current and relevant topic and provides useful recommendations to the pension industry to cope with this development”.
According to Damoiseaux, many participants find it difficult to make a well-considered choice. The participants are able to oversee the consequences of their choice in the short term. But the impact in the long term is often insufficiently considered. And then to think that it is extremely important to consider the overall financial situation. Opting for a lumpsum has consequences for the remaining pension, but also for other financial aspects. A great opportunity for pension funds to offer more added value in the guidance of participants. For example by facilitating a calculation tool for participants and by offering an overall picture of income and fixed and desired expenditure. That enables participants to familiarize themselves with their financial future and prevents impulsive behavior. But speed is of the essence as the first choices for lumpsum will possibly already be made in the second half of next year.”