The Shell pensions bureau (SPN) has entered into a unique partnership with SPO, the college for pensions education in the Netherlands, to improve the competence of the board members at Shell’s two pension funds, SSPF and SNPS. Both schemes said they wanted to “set an example” on pensions and governance expertise.Since 2012, SPN’s Academy has provided a mix of educational instruments and know-how to board members and candidates of the pension funds, their accountability organs (VO), supervisory boards (RvT) and SPN staff.The Academy will serve as the focal point for all schooling, training and reference material, and support the entire process, while SPO will offer services to increase competence, carry out expertise projects and set up the annual curriculum. Mark de Wijs, SPO’s director, said: “We will think along with the pension funds about boosting competence during the whole cycle. With the aid of new educational instruments, monitoring and maintenance, and based on individual assessments, we will be in control.”In his opinion, the cooperation between SPO and the Shell schemes is unique in the Netherlands. The SPN Academy already provides external schooling, in addition to courses by its own specialists and skills training by the sponsoring company.These will continue under the new set-up, SPN said. In the opinion of the Shell schemes, the mix of internal and external competence-boosting will add value to overall pensions education.In July 2013, Shell Netherlands set up a second pension fund – offering an individual defined contribution plan for new employees – while closing its existing final salary scheme for new entrants.SPN is responsible for the daily management of the pension funds, and supports and advises their boards on governance, actuarial issues, asset and risk management and pensions strategy. SPO was founded in 1989 by the pensions sector and focuses on maintaining standards for people in governing positions at pension funds.
“The only over-lying marker that usually gets any deal done is money, we all know that. We will put good resources into certain areas and certain deals, but there is a limit. “The club’s future is important, not just the immediate future on the pitch.” Burnley are arguably bigger outsiders than they were when they reached the Premier League for the first time in 2009, a stay that lasted only one season. They begin their campaign by welcoming Chelsea to Turf Moor a week on Monday, allowing ‘the Ginger Mourinho’ to pit his wits against the real thing. Dyche knows his team will be written off before they have started but he is confident they have the right formula to surprise people. “We were underdogs last year and I think we got used to that,” said the 43-year-old former defender. “It can bring freedom. There’ll be an expectation from us, how we perform and how we go about it, but from the outside arguably we’ll be deemed probably one of the biggest underdogs there’s been in the Premier League for a while. “But we do know the underdog story. There’s not many, if you actually analyse underdog stories, that are by chance or luck. “So at the same time as being an underdog, we like to think there’s a way we go about our business that will give us a chance to do well and be competitive and win football matches.” Sean Dyche estimates he has made 500 phone calls this summer as he attempts to create a squad capable of staying in the Barclays Premier League. Dyche, who refused to comment on reports linking the club with Nottingham Forest midfielder Henri Lansbury, said: ” It’s a challenge. “Some of it is intriguing to know what’s out there, what we can do and what we can’t do, and it’s annoying sometimes because there’s things you want to get pushed through and they drag and drag and drag, and we’ve had that on a few different situations. “We work hard. I reckon I’ve made 500 phone calls over the summer to managers to agents to coaches, background on players etc. And that’s just me, that’s not counting my staff, the recruitment side of things. “We keep looking and we keep searching for the ones that are appropriate and that can help us to enhance our chances of doing well this year. “We need more strength in depth but that doesn’t just come with anyone, we have to also make sure there’s some quality and talent there otherwise it would be counter productive. “There’s not a definitive number. I doubt we’ll hit 25 senior players, but we definitely want to enhance the numbers. “If we had the finance we’re spending now in the Championship, that would give us a real competitive edge. In the Premier League, we all know what it’s like. The numbers are vast, e ven for players who you wouldn’t recognise as being market leaders, but they move for very big fees and very big wages. “You could get frustrated by it but what’s the point? That’s not going to get any deals done. Press Association Dyche led Burnley to promotion from the Sky Bet Championship in May despite the Clarets having one of the smallest squads in the second tier. He has so far added goalkeeper Matt Gilks, midfielders Steven Reid, Matt Taylor and Michael Kightly and forwards Lukas Jutkiewicz and Marvin Sordell, but hopes to boost the numbers further before the end of the month.