Big pension funds boost their reserves to head off further cuts

The reserves of the Netherlands’ biggest pension funds have improved in the first quarter of this year, news agency ANP reports.

At civil service fund ABP, the coverage ratio – the assets needed to meet all pension obligations – has gone up to 101%, chairman Henk Brouwer said on Thursday.

‘Finally we have some better news to bring to our participants,’ Brouwer said. ABP, with 2.5 million participants, is one of the biggest pension funds in the world.


By law, pension funds are supposed to have a coverage ratio of 105%. In the last quarter of 2012, ABP’s ratio was 96%, forcing the fund to cut payments to pensioners.

Engineering fund PME, which cut pensions 5.1% in April, is also moving in the right direction, its chairman Franswillem Briët is quoted as saying. PME boosted its coverage ratio by 7.6 percentage points to 101.5%.

Health service fund PFZW now has a coverage ratio of 105%, due to improved investment performance and a slight increase in interest rates.

In total, 68 of the country’s 415 sector and corporate pension schemes had to lower payouts in April in order to boost their assets. Some 5.6 million pensions were affected.

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