News / How are pension funds managing in this volatile environment with continuous low yields? – Pensioplus

How are pension funds managing in this volatile environment with continuous low yields? – Pensioplus

How do pension funds cope with the enormous challenges they currently face (persisting low interest rates, detrimental effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, …)?

Pension funds play a pivotal role in providing adequate pensions for all. With first pillar benefits finding themselves under enormous strain, it has become apparent that supplementary occupational pensions are indispensable for everyone. PensioPlus therefore pleads for a generalization and deepening of the 2nd pillar while preserving the fiscal framework and the vested rights of the members as to make supplementary pensions more accessible and transparent for everyone. While fulfilling their important social function, pension funds also act as a stabilizing factor within the financial markets in times of crisis given their anti-cyclical investment policy.

Pension funds currently face enormous challenges. The trend of persisting low interest rates is reinforced by unseen depths in GDP growth due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the interventionist policy of central banks is furthermore creating a real threat of growing inflation giving way to a decline of disposable income. 

In this context the question arises how pension funds are coping with these challenges. Is there a trend to invest more in the real economy, including investments in alternative asset classes such as infrastructure and private equity? And what role can pension funds play in the European recovery plan?

Learn more about this topic during this interesting webinar on 29/09 at 14.30 – 15.00

About the speakers

Tom Mergaerts
Tom Mergaerts was recruited in 1997 while studying actuarial sciences at the Cabinet of the then Flemish Minister of Budget, Finance and Health Policy Wivina Demeester as a technical assistant and actuary to create the actuarial and financial part of the project on Flemish health insurance. From August 1999 he works as an actuary at the pension institution for Doctors, Dentists and Pharmacists, later Amonis OFP, mainly in the field of investment policy and actuarial and financial risk management. From May 2004 he fulfilled the position of financial director of Amonis and then from 2011 as CEO. Tom obtained master’s degrees in commercial engineering, actuarial sciences and financial economics from the University of Leuven where he became a Fellow of the Hogenheuvelcollege in 2004. He is also a level I candidate in the CAIA program. Since 1999, Tom has also been active in the professional association for actuaries in Belgium, the IA | BE, where he was a member of the board from 2015 to March 2019. He is also a member of the board of Pensioplus.

Ann Verlinden

With a Master in Mathematical Sciences at the University of Antwerp (1988) and a Master in Actuarial Sciences at the Catholic University of Leuven (1990), as well as an Executive Master in Business Administration at the Antwerp Management School (2013), Ann Verlinden has been very engaged with pension funds since the beginning of her career. She starts as an Actuary, specialised in Pension Funds Management, followed by her activities as a Consultant specialised in Employee Benefits in the broader sense of the word. Enriched with these experiences, Ann joins PensioPlus as a Senior Advisor in 2012. She distinguishes herself within both national and European working groups, amongst which Sigedis, the Institute for Actuaries in Belgium, PensionsEurope and AEIP. Thanks to these competences and her specific knowledge of the sector, Ann serves as Secretary-General ad interim at PensioPlus since 2015. As a Secretary-General since 2018, Ann takes the responsibility for the sector’s lobbying activities at national and European level for the set up and coordination of working groups, the organisation of training and numerous activities, amongst which the annual Financial Seminar. Within PensioPlus, Ann takes the lead in files such as IORP II, stress tests, DB2P and many others. Ann Verlinden is also Member of the Commission for Supplementary Pensions.

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