Year in a nutshell

Pension increase by a whopping 12.1% 

analysis

Discover the most important events of 2023 impacting your pension here. From the preparations for the Future Pensions Act (Wtp), which came into force on 1 July 2023, to the pension increase.

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Indexation and a value-guaranteed pension

At the end of 2023, SSPF's policy funding ratio stood at 138%, which is more than sufficient for indexation. SSPF needs a minimum policy funding ratio of 115% for this. The funding ratio provides information on the resources available to fulfil both present and future liabilities. For pensioners, pensions were increased by 12.1% in 2023. For active participants, the indexation was 5%. In 2024, this group of participants will get an additional 5%. The fund was able to adjust pensions each year in accordance with the derived price index for all households from Statistics Netherlands (or later through catch-up indexation).

Experiences of participants and pensioners

SSPF is a financially sound pension fund. But what is most important is how our participants perceive it. That's why we are continuously analysing which areas can be further improved. For instance, SSPF will communicate even more in the run-up to the Future Pensions Act. Last year, SSPF received no less than an 8.9 from participants. There is a high level of confidence in SSPF. The fund wants to keep delivering on that.

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Future Pensions Act

The Future Pensions Act (Wtp) came into force and took effect on 1 July 2023. By 1 January 2028 at the latest, all pension funds must comply with the requirements of the Future Pensions Act. This may involve dividing the collective pension funds over 'personal pots' and transferring the scheme to the new pension system. In short, this is a system where your pension benefit can vary and where you have a set premium contribution. Unlike now, where the pension benefit you will receive is more or less fixed.  

To successfully take the steps towards the new pension system, SSPF prepared several scenarios in 2023. The quality of data at Shell Pension has also been analysed. Everything is in good working order. This means that SSPF can take immediate action once the social partners, Shell Nederland and the Central Works Council (COR), decide on what the future pension scheme will look like. The plan is to transition to the new scheme on 1 January 2027, one year ahead of the legal deadline.

Well-balanced consideration of interests

In the transition towards a new pension system, one of the major challenges is the review of the so-called ‘equitable consideration of interests’. The standard procedure, mandated by the Future Pensions Act (Wtp), is to allocate the collectively accrued pension capital equitably and fairly among all participants. In that scenario, there has to be determined who receives which share and under what conditions. Where the interests of all participant groups  - young, old, current Shell employees, former employees and other beneficiaries – are balanced and responsibly considered. Preparation is also well underway for this important aspect. Should it be the case that transferring to the new system is not balanced, then the law offers the option of not converting the pension, allowing it to remain in the current system.

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ESG

There is a tremendous amount of activity worldwide in the fields of climate and sustainability. There is an increasing amount of new legislation rapidly emerging concerning these topics, particularly initiated by the European Union. Reporting requirements are also becoming stricter. As a pension fund, SSPF must and wants to act on this. This is partly the reason why we set the target last year to have a climate-neutral investment portfolio by 2050.

New IT platform and collaboration

Together with Achmea Pensioenservices (APS), Shell Pension is developing a new IT platform for pension administration. To ensure that it will soon be ready for use by SSPF in the transition to the new pension system, significant efforts were also directed towards upholding the quality of our APS partnership and monitoring the productive cooperation with asset manager SAMCo in 2023.

IT and data
With the transition to a new pension system, IT and data have become, arguably, even more important. Therefore, in 2023, we revised our IT policy and appointed an IT manager. Furthermore, expert parties have been brought on board to provide support to IT. A 'desktop study' on cybersecurity was also carried out last year.

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Diversity and inclusion

By 2023, two female board members have joined the board, following approval by De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB). As a result, by the end of 2023, three of the eight board members are female. There are no board members under the age of 40. By the end of 2023, SSPF's Accountability Body (AB) will consist of four female and ten male members. One AB member is under the age of 40. In the Supervisory Board, one of its three members is female.

Increasing diversity remains a key focus within the Shell pension funds. Not only does a diverse board lead to better decision-making, but it also aligns with the values that Shell, as a sponsor, considers important. Therefore, SSPF aims to have a board and AB that justly reflect all the participants. To acknowledge the diverse range of individuals who work or have worked at Shell. This contributes to SSPF's vision: diversity stimulates creativity, enhances decision-making and promotes innovation. SSPF's diversity policy aligns with the Shell Group's diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) policy.

Innovation

When it comes to innovation, the pension fund focuses on adopting systems that have already demonstrated their effectiveness and proven themselves in the pension sector, or more broadly in the financial sector, in order to enhance and improve services for our participants and increase user-friendliness. These include the pilot implementations of Artificial Intelligence (AI) using a chatbot and Certificate of life app.

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