So it looks as if the economic crisis has finally caught up with the Dutch corporate pension funds. The mighty APB, which delivers pensions to civil servants and teachers, says it is still in good enough shape, but the health service, metal workers and others are hurting.
That means no rise in pay-outs in line with inflation and – if things don’t improve – it could mean hiked premiums for those still in work.
Holland’s pension funds used to put most of their money into nice, secure government bonds. Shares and all those other more risky variants made up just a small part of their investments.
After all, pension funds were looking after other people’s retirement funds and had to be careful.
But, over the years the balance has shifted. The men in suits were tempted by the big fat returns which investing on the stock market was earning for their high finance cousins.
And so the funds moved into more exciting – and more risky – areas. That bill is now being paid. Not by the men in suits, of course, but by the people at the bottom – the pension holders.
Sorry, Mr Smit. Your pension won’t be going up by the pittance that is inflation because your pension fund decided to risk your money on potentially high return investments. And now you have to bear the cost.
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