SSPF. Forever Young.
Annual Report 2021 - Stichting Shell Pensioenfonds
SSPF. Forever Young.

Annual Report 2021 - Stichting Shell Pensioenfonds

Jan Taalman Shell Permit Operator and member of the accountability body

"As accountability body we always reach a clearcut decision"

With over thirty years' experience working for Shell, Permit Operator Jan Taalman (53) knows perfectly well what employees are involved in. Including when it comes to their pensions. Being a member of the accountability body of SSPF he benefits from this experience.

"As far as Shell is concerned, with me you've got the real stuff. Over thirty years ago, as a young lad, I was trained as a process operator through Shell's internal company school. I then worked at the MEOD plant in Moerdijk for more than two decades. This is where ethylene oxide (EO) and derivatives are manufactured. EO is used, among other things, for sterilising medical equipment. Furthermore, ethylene oxide is used to make glycols, which you, for instance, can find in PET bottles and antifreeze.

Eight years ago, I quit shift work and switched to the position of Permit Operator; this means you work during the day, so you're at home in the evenings and over the weekend. Soon after that, I was elected to the local Works Council. In 2017, I became a member of the accountability body."

Providing information with a maximum of clarity

"Awareness is one of the three communication principles in our communication policy, which we shape and implement in close consultation with SSPF communication manager Debby van der Voort. Another core principle is 'clarity': we want to inform participants with a maximum of clarity about how pensions work and about Shell's pension scheme. We also communicate about the consequences of the new pension scheme: what will it entail for our participants?  Our third communication principle is 'perspective': we want to give participants optimum insight into SSPF's results and progress in the area of socially responsible investing."

“It is crucial to know what is going on on the job and to include that in our recommendations to the board”

Broad professional experience

"The accountability body of SSPF has 14 representatives. Two represent the employer and four represent the employees, including me. Plus there are eight members representing the pensioners. We review the actions of the SSPF board and have the right to advise the members of the board. In our accountability body we have many members with a solid financial background. I personally don't have one, but I bring in a lot of professional experience from all the work I have done. It is crucial to know what is going on on the job and to include that in our recommendations to the board. The accountability body must have an insight into all the various policy areas. From possible indexation to an increase in the employer contribution, from an amendment to the regulations to the nomination of a new member of the Board. In our review and recommendations, we look at the weighing of interests that the board carries out with regard to active participants, inactive participants and pensioners. Occasionally, we have quite heated discussions and it's easy to make out which group a board member represents. But we always reach a clear-cut decision.”

Effective communication

"One of my focus areas is communication. On that score, SSPF was doing great in 2021. The surveys and newsletters, for example, are read by a fair number of participants. The fact that you can make a video call if you have a specific question gives you a lot of assurance. Also, the board provides us with detailed information about the new pension scheme, although there are still a lot of uncertainties.

On behalf of the accountability body, I am also a member of the focus group for the Accelerate project. This deals with Achmea Pensionservices' new IT platform, which will also be used by SSPF. As users we can advise on the requirements this new platform should meet, what need not be included, etc. A topic for the future, as we will not be switching over until 2025, but it' s fascinating to work on.”