Alfred Slager and/or Martijn Vos offer to do a workshop for pension boards on decision making. The workshop is based upon the contents of their book Decision Making for Pension Boards – How to make Good Decisions to get Things Done.


“Responsible for managing trillions for future pensioners, pension boards have stepped into the global spotlight, and they are under increasing pressure to deliver every day. ‘Decision Making for Pension Boards’ explains how boards can improve the quality and speed of decision making, keep their heads cool, without ignoring complexities and long-term effects. It includes topics such as a decision-making framework, strategic asset allocation, ALM modeling, ethics, sustainability, tackling board biases, behavioral challenges and acting in times of crisis. It helps you challenge and improve your own decision making.”

Workshop Lay Out

We know that time is scarce for board members. Based on our experiences with boards, we've developed a course lay out that puts the messages of the book to good use for your board to reflect and improve decision making.

The workshop gives your board an overview of a decision-making model. As well it introduces tools, potential pitfalls and specific topics for decision making in pension organizations.
The last part reflects specific decisions your board has made, or that are to come.

We suggest the following schedule, in total 3 hours, consisting of 4 parts: overview, topics, reflection and roundup.

30-40 minutes  

1. Overview
Discuss the main messages of Part I of the book: Steps in Decision Making, focusing on the key messages. Use one or more of the self-reflection questions per step to learn how your board members perceive these, enabling to check whether there is a common understanding before moving on to the next step. 

 40 minutes  2. Topics
Discuss the main messages of Part II of the book. Here too, a birds' eye view is used bringing your board up to speed on the different topics (behavioral, model, stress, ethics, learning and adapting). 
We can discuss them all or select one or two that might be of specific interest to your board. Here too, by using the self-reflection questions per step we find out how each board member perceives the quality of the decision-making topics. 
 50-60 minutes 3. Reflection
Depending on what works well, taking the specific board culture into account, we suggest zooming on one or two decisions:
A. Reflect on two recent decisions, ask board members to discuss them in smaller groups where they must confront the process and quality of the decision with the framework in the book: 
B. After sharing each group’s discussions, we will have a plenary discussion armed with the insights on what is already best practice and where the book provides food for thought to improve decision making in the future. Alternatively, we can look ahead; you might be on the eve of a difficult decision-making trajectory and want to reflect on where you as a board might need to pay specific attention to. The discussion then focuses on the process of decision making, what sort of mistakes you'd like to avoid and what best practice you'd like to hang on to. After wrapping up the sessions, it can be decided to share these notes and ask staff to make them part of the upcoming decisions and documentation. 
 10 minutes  4. Roundup
Takeaways, and suggestions for the learning and development agenda of the board. 

Workshop participants will receive a free copy of the Decision Making for Pension Boards-book.


Contact us if you are interested, on available dates, any potential tailoring – see below under “Optional” too, and pricing:

I’m interested in your Decision Making workshop



Depending on your board's needs, we can tailor this workshop. Please contact us to discuss your challenge to get the best out of your workshop. Below are two experiences with boards that might inspire you to adapt your workshop.

Tailoring option 1: Learning more about the boards' decision-making perceptions.
We extend the introduction, by starting with the outcomes of a short (anonymous) survey among board members a couple of weeks before the session. 

In this survey, we’ll pose the following questions (wording will be tailormade to the fund's communication style):

Taking your pension board decision-making process in general:

  • (on a 1-4 scale) As a board, we have a structured &disciplined decision making process;
  • (on a 1-4 scale) The decisions we make are effectively implemented;
  • (on a 1-4 scale) We regularly evaluate our discussions;
  • (on a 1-4 scale) We know what the strengths and pitfalls are within the board’s decision making and apply this to good use.

Outcomes and extremes of answers are discussed, and we could use these to focus the topics and reflection of the workshop.

Tailoring option 2: We will zoom in on 1 or 2 recent decisions.
The advantage is that the discussion becomes more recognizable for board members, since it applies directly to their situation. Beforehand, we'll work with board and staff to describe the decision in the form of a short case study. We'll conduct a short survey, asking board members to reflect on the decision along the following steps:

  • Please recall decision xyz where ....;
    1. “We all had a clear definition of what the problem was”
    2. “We went through a structured process to derive at this decision”
    3. “It was beforehand clear how we would reach a decision”
    4. “Everyone at the table was given a voice”
    5. “The chair (or senior staff) clearly summarized the decision to be made.
    6. "We felt that the outcomes were successful.






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