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Dutch dentists to gauge interest in mandatory pension plan

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The closed Dutch pension fund for dentists and dentist consultants (SPT) and its occupational pensions association (BPVT) are to sound out the interest among members for a new mandatory pension plan.

The initiative is a result of negotiations between both organisations after a dispute about the composition of SPT’s board had led to the pension fund starting court proceedings about the BPVT’s role last summer.

Meilof Snijder, the scheme’s temporary chairman, said that SPT, BPVT and the occupational associations for dentists and dentist consultants “wanted to take their responsibility for pension arrangements for the occupation”.

“We have received signs that younger colleagues hardly save for their pension,” said Snijder. He estimated that currently 6,000-7,000 dentists were not participating in the pension fund and depended on individual arrangements.

If a new and mandatory scheme for dentists were to be established, it would be “something alongside SPT”, according to the chairman.

He added that re-opening SPT would not be likely. “Approximately 70% of our participants are pensioners and our investment policy has been tuned to this situation accordingly,” Snijder said.

Following a provisionary agreement in the wake of the court proceedings, the BPVT reconfirmed that it would not come up with proposals for interim board changes.

The occupational pensions association has also abandoned its initial objections against SPT’s plan to increase the annual fixed indexation from 0.85% to 1.15%.

The parties have also agreed that Han Bakker – an orthodontist – will take over as chair from Snijder as of 1 January.

Currently, Bakker is completing the necessary courses for getting his pensions expertise up to scratch, and has reached the level for the required assessment by supervisor DNB, Snijder explained.

SPT, for its turn, said it would help BPVT’s new chairman, Ward van Dijk, increase his pensions expertise.

Last summer, Van Dijk succeeded Peter Czaikowsky after the latter had stepped down as chair of the occupational pensions association.

Part of the new agreement involves the pension fund providing BPTV with a fixed budget, based on its agreed tasks. In the past, the BPVT often significantly overspent its budget, according to Snijder.

He said that the air between the pension fund and BPVT’s new board has been cleared and calm has returned following the new and “workable” agreement.

SPT, which manages €1.9bn of assets for 2,850 participants and 4,125 pensioners, was closed to new entrants in 1997.

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