After two years of research and preparation, the time has come: SPW, the pension fund for housing corporations is making six hard promises to its participants and employers today. It is a significant step for the pension sector. “SPW is really going out on a limb with these pension promises,” says APG executive board member Francine van Dierendonck.
Birte van Ouwerkerk and Jim Schuyt are the driving force behind the pension promises. Birte is responsible for the development and implementation of the pension promises as the Marketing communication strategist. Jim has been the chairman on behalf of the employers and the pension promises from day one.
Why are you making these promises to participants and employers?
Jim: “Promises are often made by commercial parties to get clients to commit to them. For example, Jumbo, where you can get your groceries for free if there are four people in line. We, as a pension fund, don’t feel that pressure. Because it is mandatory, participants can’t just switch to a different fund. That fact makes us see this as an extra responsibility. Even without being required to, participants should choose us; that is our approach. With the pension promises, we are therefore making the topic of pension and SPW’s services tangible and we are showing what the fund stands for.”
Do participants and employers really need such promises?
Birte: “Yes, we think so. These promises are based on extensive research among participants and employers. How are they seeing our services and the subject of pension in general? Although SPW scored positively on that first point, we also detected a lot of questions and uncertainties: will there be enough left for me and what can I expect from my pension fund? You can explain to them that those worries are largely unfounded. You can also put it in stronger terms by promising that the participants’ investments are in good hands.”
Making promises. But, with the new pension contract, isn’t that exactly what we are trying to get away from?
Jim: “With these six promises we are not going to do something completely new, or promise things we have never done before. The promises that participants and employers have chosen are showing things that we were already doing on a daily basis, but that they didn’t necessarily know much about. So, we are responding to questions that our participants and employers already had. These questions will not be that different when the new pension contract kicks in down the road.”
What was APG’s role?
Birte: “25 of our people were involved in the creation of the promises. From people working at the Client Contact Center (KCC) to the Employers’ services and Pension administration departments. These promises are also very valuable to APG, because they give APG employees more clarity about what is expected from them and provides a focus in the service.”
How will you make sure that these promises are really going to settle in the DNA of SPW?
Birte: “We are going to go live in controlled phases and will take a year and a half to fully integrate the promises into our services and communication. We will stay in touch with participants, employers and APG employees to see how it goes. We are now starting on the external branding campaign to inform employers and participants, with the objective of creating awareness during this phase.”
SPW’s six promises
1 Guaranteed income for the rest of your life, for you and your partner.
A guaranteed income for the rest of your life, but also for your partner and your kids if you die. Ensure income in case of disability.
2 Your investment is in good hands, with proven returns.
SPW achieved an average investment return of 7 percent for the past twenty years. Investments are transparent, responsible and socially conscious.
3 Room for you to choose what you want to do with your pension.
You choose when you want to retire, partially or completely. First a bigger amount and later a smaller amount. Partner’s pension or no partner’s pension.
4 Personal pension check, to use when you want to.
Online, by phone on chat. Use it when you want to. Because you want to know if you’re on the right track. Or because something changed in your life. Or because you want to apply for your pension.
5 Complete overview and insight into your future income.
Always and everywhere clear overview & insight at Mijn SPW (My SPW). All expenditures and income in a row. So that you know what you are doing now and how much money you need. And you can see what you want in the future and how much of a pension you will need at that time. You can choose and calculate for yourself in Helder Overzicht & Inzicht (Clear Overview & Insight), the calculation tool in Mijn SPW.
6 Pension plan for all of us, customized for housing corporations.
Developed in collaboration with all relevant representatives of employers and employees in the sector.