Government may act to give pension funds more leeway ahead of reforms

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The government is to ‘look seriously’ at changing the current rules for corporate pension funds in an effort to head off payout cuts at the two biggest Dutch funds.

Civil service pension ABP and the health service fund PFZW are both likely to have to cut pensions because their reserves have dropped below the legal level, due to falling interest rates. The two big engineering funds may also have to make cuts.

Social affairs minister Wouter Koolmees told MPs he first wants to discuss the problems with pension funds and to study the financial consequences of reducing payouts.

The cuts will come into effect next year unless the government takes action.

Earlier this year, unions and employers agreed measures to overhaul the Dutch pension fund which would reduce the pressure on funds to keep their assets topped up.

That new system is due to come into effect in 2022, meaning the funds have two years to bridge before they face more relaxed financial requirements.

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