NETHERLANDS - Only one in five pension funds so far has implemented the new uniform pension statement (UPO), despite earlier agreements, says Dutch consumer organisation Consumentenbond.

Pension funds and insurers are required from early 2008 to provide their clients with a UPO, but the three umbrella organisations for Dutch pension funds and pension insurers agreed in 2005 pension providers would implement the UPO this year.

However, according to recent research by the Consumentenbond, 36% of the pension providers surveyed have still to set up the provision of a UPO statement.

"In 2005, when there was no mention yet of a mandatory UPO, we made very clear agreements with all pension providers that it would be good for the consumer to have one, uniform pension overview, and they assured us that they would do everything possible to implement the UPO," a spokeswoman for the consumer body told IPE today.

She argued pension providers have had enough time to get started with a UPO, and calls the result of the survey "disappointing".

The spokeswoman told IPE around 40% of the 700 or so funds it wrote to did not reply to the survey.

The spokeswoman also added the Consumentenbond will now campaign for a digital version of the UPO, so consumers can access details via the Internet.

Umbrella organisations VB, for the industry wide pension funds, commented that from its own research around 60% of its members have already implemented a UPO.

"You need to consider that all large industry wide funds (of our own members ABP, PGGM, PME, PMT, Bouw, Spoorwegpensioenfonds, among others), the large corporate pension funds and insurers, are among those 60% - if you convert this to participants who will already get a UPO, this comes down to around 80-90%," a VB spokeswoman said.

She added that the mutual convenant with the Consumentenbond was an agreement whereby the umbrella organisations would entice members to implement a UPO. "We have done this."

Frans Prins, of the OPF, the umbrella organisation for corporate pension funds, told IPE the study was conducted in the first half of this year, and argues that a large number of funds will implement the UPO from the second half.

Moreover, he argues the study does not show a bad result: "I think it is going very well."

"The implementation of the UPO is obligatory from 2008. We see it as positive that such a large number  already complies with the legislation," the VB spokeswoman also concluded.

Both organisations said they are actively involved in the improvement of pension communication.

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