Parliamentary approval of a Bill for the new APF pensions vehicle has suffered a fresh setback after the Dutch Senate postponed its reading.
The deferment followed an amendment – tabled by MPs Helma Lodders (VVD) and Roos Vermeij (PvdA) – to allow merging industry-wide schemes to keep ring-fenced assets.
However, the Cabinet advised against the amendment due to potential risks to the mandatory participation of industry-wide pension funds.
The Council of State – the highest legal college in the Netherlands – is assessing the issue at the request of Jetta Klijnsma, state secretary at Social Affairs.
The Senate wants to wait to receive this legal advice, as well as the Cabinet’s response, before deciding on the reading of the APF Bill.
Legal expert Hans van Meerten warned that the deferment – particularly if the Council of State’s advice leads to legal changes – could jeopardise the new legislation’s coming into force on 1 January 2016.
The Bill’s postponement also means uncertainty over the exact rules and conditions for the APF will continue.
The APF, or general pension fund, is to offer Dutch schemes the option of operating under a single, independent board, but with ring-fenced assets.
It is designed to be a third type of pension fund, replacing the API – the defined benefit vehicle for cross-border schemes, which never took off.
The introduction of the APF had already been postponed by six months to 1 January 2016.
Last April, legal experts warned that the delay would reduce the options for a large number of schemes considering liquidation.