If the world was perfect, then my work would be superfluous

Sara van den Bleeken, senior compliance officer


“Before I started working at APG, I worked for the Dutch Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM). It was extremely interesting work, but I wanted to be one step ahead of the game, and be able to advise and intervene earlier.


That’s exactly what we do here in the compliance department at APG. We deal with integrity at the organization in the broadest sense of the word. That includes overseeing that legislation and regulations are fully observed, and how they are interpreted, but also among our employees. We also give advice, for example, on how to prevent conflicts of interest, and ensure that organizations we do business with aren’t engaged in criminal activities such as money laundering. Additionally, we conduct risk analyses and risk management. To cut a long story short, we ensure that everything we do at APG complies with legislation and regulations, and is in the interest of our clients and pension participants.


I really enjoy my work. The diversity of the job particularly appeals to me. You’re not responsible for one particular focus area, but you contribute to the organization as a whole.


If the world was perfect, then my work would be superfluous. Human behavior, however, isn’t always perfect. Anyone can overlook something once in a while. As compliance officers, we try to shed light on these matters to get the best possible end result. It’s really important because if we aren’t compliant, this could potentially lead to losing our good reputation as well as our clients, or it could be detrimental to their pension participants. What we do, we do for them.


A pension is not something we think about every day, even though almost everyone is paying into one. If something isn’t right, it can take a long time before you find out about it. That’s why it’s so important for all parties in the sector to do their job to the best of their ability. I really like the idea that I am helping older people receive a good pension. Ultimately, that’s also good for the Netherlands.

APG is the largest pension provider in the Netherlands. So what we do here really matters. I also find APG a good employer, one which is open to new ideas. I have the feeling that my contributions really matter.


The pension sector is experiencing some new developments. With the introduction of a new Dutch pension system, the sector is about to enter a period of substantial transition. This will pose lots of challenges that we as a team are focusing on now and over the next few years. The area of compliance also continues to develop. During the last few years, the field of compliance has become much broader solely because of new technologies and options. Within compliance, we are increasingly preparing ourselves for a digital future, where data analyses and real time monitoring will be an everyday component of the job. The social context is also changing and that requires a different perspective. You have to constantly keep in mind whether we are doing the right thing. What was considered to be ethical ten years ago, may be viewed by us as absolutely unacceptable today. It’s this dynamic environment which makes the work interesting.


We have a saying which goes: compliance actually belongs to everyone and not just to the compliance department. Of course, we are contributing to it, but every employee at APG plays an important role in maintaining the company’s good reputation and the trust placed in it.”