New debate urged on pension system

There must be a broad debate about the structure of the pension fund system including discussion on the raising of the pension age and changing the way payments are calculated, according to the sector-wide pension fund association VB.

VB director Gerard Riemen says in Friday’s Financieele Dagblad that ‘lessons must be learnt from the current problems’ and that unions and employers must ‘reconsider their pension contract’.
Most Dutch workers fall under either a company or a sector-wide pension scheme.
Riemen’s statement follows yesterday’s news that the country’s four biggest pension funds have been further eroded by falling stock prices and interest rates and that they no longer meet government-required coverage ratios.
Pensions frozen
Funds are supposed to have coverage ratios of 105%, meaning they can meet more than their pension obligations.
But the civil service pension fund ABP, which is one of the biggest in the world, health service pension fund Zorg en Welzijn (formerly PGGM) and two major engineering sector pension funds have all said they will freeze pensions this year. Light engineering fund PME is to hike contributions by 1%.
The CNV trade union federation told the FD it is still too early to open the debate about corporate pensions. And FNV spokesman Willem Noordman said: ‘We can talk about changes but not under pressure from this crisis.’

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