The Netherlands’ largest pension fund, €468bn civil service scheme ABP, is postponing its transition to the new defined contribution (DC) system from 1 January 2026 to 1 January 2027.

ABP is one of the first funds to make use of the leeway offered by pensions minister Carola Schouten, who recently moved the final date for pension funds to introduce DC arrangements by a year to 1 January 2028.

According to a message on ABP’s website, the additional time will be used “to test the new processes and systems even better and more extensively”.

ABP’s decision to make the transition to DC later is suitable to its administrator APG which earlier this year admitted it was struggling to move all its pension fund clients on time to the new pension system due to capacity constraints.

Originally, five of its clients aimed for 1 January 2026 as their transition date. In addition to ABP, APG’s second-largest client Bpf Bouw was also to transition at the same time. Three other clients opted for 1 January 2025, and so far none had volunteered for 1 January 2027.

‘Not on demand’

APG’s biggest admin client ABP moving to the “class of 2027” frees up some necessary space in APG’s transition team, as APG had indicated this spring that it would rather not transfer two large funds to the new DC system in the same year.

However, moving funds to 2027 was also problematic, as regulator DNB deemed it too risky if any of the largest five pension funds were to make the transition only on the implementation deadline. Now that the legal deadline has moved to 2028, this issue is out of the way.

ABP and APG confirmed that there had been consultations about the postponement. But a spokesperson for ABP said the decision was not taken at the request of APG.

“It was a decision of the fund, in consultation with social partners. Our consideration is that we want to conduct this major operation in a careful manner,” she said.

This article was first published on Pensioen Pro, IPE’s Dutch sister publication. It was translated and adapted for IPE by Tjibbe Hoekstra.