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Dutch doctors scheme SPH to increase pension rights

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SPH, the €9.3bn occupational pension fund for general practitioners in the Netherlands, has said it will increase pension rights by 3.45% in light of its “favourable” financial position. 

In addition, it plans to cut its contribution for self-employed participants by 9% to a maximum of €20,910, due to the reduction of the tax-facilitated annual pensions accrual, according to the scheme’s newsletter.

SPH has a nominal coverage ratio of approximately 140% and is one of the three best-performing pension funds in the Netherlands.

The GPs’ scheme attributed the premium reduction in particular to the increase of the official retirement age to 67, in combination with the new cap of tax-facilitated accrual at a salary of €100,000.

However, the pension fund also pointed out that the effects of low interest rates and rising longevity would partially offset the benefit of the reduced contribution.

The contribution level for employed and deputy GPs will not change, remaining at just over 17% of the pensionable salary.

In SPH’s most recent newsletter, chairman Johan Reesink said the pension fund was satisfied with the Netherlands’ new financial assessment framework (FTK), as it has “increased the solidity of the pensions system and improved its ability to cope with downward shocks”.

However, he also lamented the higher interest rates and criticised the assumptions for returns that have been set for establishing contributions and indexation.

“Working with assumptions that subsequently turn out to be different has caused a lot of unrest and anger, as well as a strong drop in confidence in the pensions sector,” he said.

In other news, the €300m Total Pension Fund Netherlands has outsourced its pensions administration to Aon Hewitt as of 1 January.

It cited the “strongly increased complexity of pensions provision” and, in its wake, the “increased vulnerability” of its three-strong pensions bureau.

Until recently, the pension fund carried out the administration in-house.

Earlier, it had placed its asset management with BlackRock.

Total Pension Fund Netherlands has approximately 650 active participants, 270 deferred members and 375 pensioners.

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