Koen De Ryck – Father of European pensions
De Ryck ran Pragma in Brussels, one of Europe’s most respected independent pensions consultancies.
He was the Brussels representative of the European Federation for Retirement Provision (EFRP) from 1990 to 1997. It is for his work on pensions funds at European Union (EU) level, where he could be described as the “father of European pensions”, that he will be most widely remembered.
De Ryck acted in a pivotal role regarding the European Commission (EC) and pensions when in 1996 he published his seminal report on behalf of the EFRP: European Pension Funds: Their impact on European Capital Markets and Competitiveness. The paper helped give the EC a new sense of direction regarding funded pensions and enabled the sector to be treated as distinct from other financial institutions. The report is considered to be the source of inspiration for the eventual Commission Green Paper on pensions and the ensuing EU Pensions Directive.
He worked tirelessly on behalf of European pensions, whether providing advice to governments and international organisations, or participating in conferences, seminars and studies. In his lifetime, he contributed hundreds of articles, presentations and other publications on pensions issues.
Pragma was started in 1989 on his return from the US. It was one of the first continental-based consultants to operate cross-border. De Ryck’s background was originally in asset management, first in Belgium with Banque Bruxelles Lambert and later in New York. He was a founding member of the Belgian Association of Pension Funds and was on the first Belgian commission on corporate governance issues. In 2005, he won the Outstanding Industry Contribution Award for his work in European pensions at the IPE Pensions Awards.
IPE publisher Piers Diacre recalls De Ryck’s contribution to IPE in its early days. “From our very beginning, even prior to the launch of IPE, Koen was there, always supportive – giving of his time, knowledge and expertise,” he said. “It was a matter of delight when IPE readers voted him for the Outstanding Industry Contribution accolade. “But perhaps more important to Koen was the fact that, as far back as the commencement of the IPE Awards in 2001, he saw two of his protégés win awards for best pension funds.”
Author: Fennell Betson