Dutch pension funds lost billions of euros on their investments in the second quarter of 2015 because of the difficult conditions on the stock exchange, news agency ANP reports on Thursday.
A combination of bond market swings, uncertainty over interest rates and fears of a Grexit hit the pension funds particularly hard, ANP says.
Civil service pension fund ABP, which is one of the biggest in the world, lost more than €16bn, or 4.3%, while healthcare fund PFZW lost 6.6%, or €11.5bn. Engineering funds PMT and PME saw their investment porfolios shrink by 8.3% and 7.2% respectively.
However rising interest rates did benefit the funds’ coverage ratios, the Financieele Dagblad says. The coverage ratio shows if a fund has sufficient assets to meet all its liabilities. Dutch pension funds should have a coverage ratio of at least 105%, meaning they have €105 for every €100 they need to pay out in pensions.
When interest rates go up, the assets a fund needs to meet its obligations go down, the FD says.
Nevertheless, the Dutch central bank has just introduced a new method of calculating long-term interest rates used in determining coverage ratios which requires funds to increase their financial buffers or put up premiums. This will have an impact in the third quarter.
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