NETHERLANDS – The professional pension fund for dentists, which has been run as a closed fund for the past eight years, is approach the members of the dental profession to see if they want to reactivate the fund.

“This is a unique exercise for a professional sector fund,” said Bert van de Belt, director of De Stichting Pensioenfonds Tandartsen en Tandartsspecialisten (T&T), based in Bilthoven, which covers around 6,000 ‘sleepers’ (deferred pensioners) and 1,200 pensioners.

The fund ceased taking on new contributions since 1996, when a group of dentists objected to the way the contributions were being collected and obtained a majority vote of the profession to discontinue contributing.

The fund’s board has been asking about the longer term, whether the profession should reactivate the scheme by paying contributions again, create a new fund, or to stop completely, said van de Belt. “This last course would involve transferring the assets and pensions to another pension fund or insurance company.”

He added: “What we want to do is to put all these possibilities in front of the profession, by bringing all the facts and figures together and then let them make up their own minds. We are dealing with an adult population of professionals, who are very capable of looking after their own interests.”

But one thing, the T&T fund will be bringing to the table is good performance. In the time the fund has been closed, the assets have doubled to 1.2 billion euros, he pointed out. “The track record has been immaculate, and we have provided considerable pension indexation in this period as well.”

The objective is to start the campaign in the middle of May, he said. “What makes a professional fund different is that you have to ask every individual, not an employer or trade union representative.” The number of dentists in the country is reckoned to be 8-9,000.

If a majority of dentists choose to make contributions, the scheme could then be made mandatory on the whole profession.

The T&T fund is one of the 11-member funds of the UvB, the association of professional funds, based in Utrecht. These funds have a combined membership of over 60,000 individual participants.