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Dutch state secretary outlines plans for pensions communication Bill

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Jetta Klijnsma, state secretary for the Dutch Social Affairs Ministry, has suggested all official channels for pensions communication should provide information in “layers”, with the most essential data on top. 

Responding to questions about her pensions communication Bill in the Senate, she said the information of the national Pensions Register would also be presented in a layered manner.

Currently, the Pensioen 1-2-3 provides layered information about a specific pension plan, and the employer’s website must also present details about the company’s pension arrangements in such a way.

Klijnsma said she was still seeking a more comprehensible design for the uniform pensions statement (UPO) and that she aimed to introduce an updated UPO by 1 January 2016.

The state secretary said pensioners would also get access to the Pensions Register, allowing them to check how inflation and other risks affected their benefits.

However, because access will come at “considerable cost”, it will be introduced gradually and no sooner than 2017, she said.

Klijnsma further indicated that a central platform for pensions information was not on the cards for the time being, and that a study into its feasibility was still on-going.

“Different instruments for communication have different aims,” she said. “The information needs to be communicated to participants at different moments and has different senders as well.”

Klijnsma also said all information channels must offer participants advice for taking additional action, if facing a future pensions deficit.

She added that pensions providers would become responsible for presenting pensions information in the most effective way to their specific target group, and that they must also ascertain whether personal information meets the needs of female participants. 

Klijnsma said she would, in part, draw on the current feasibility check for pension funds to devise scenarios for the expected development of inflation, interest rates and equity returns.

This information will be used in the Pensions Register to show workers their pension prospects under pessimistic, neutral and optimistic conditions.

Previously, the Council of State expressed doubts about how these accounting rules, which are currently being fleshed out, would improve participants’ insight into their future pensions.

Klijnsma said the rules would also take into account incomplete indexation, as well as potential rights cuts.

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