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Dutch Federation to reveal schemes facing benefits cuts

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  • Dutch Federation to reveal schemes facing benefits cuts

NETHERLANDS - The Dutch Pension Federation, aiming to keep pension fund participants better informed, has said it will publish next month a list of those pension schemes that are likely to cut benefits in 2012.

The umbrella body for pension fund lobbying organisations VB, OPF and UvB said the list would consist of schemes that have already informed supervisor De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) that a discount will be necessary for recovery.

Last August, outgoing social affairs minister Piet Hein Donner caused a furore after he announced that 14 pension funds would have to apply early benefits cuts on 1 January 2011.

Because the DNB was not allowed to identify the schemes, weeks passed before all 14 managed to inform their participants.

Respecting today's news, the DNB has pointed out that pension funds are not required to inform the Pension Federation about discount plans, which it said could lead to an incomplete list.

Spokesman Gert Kloosterboer said: "We have urgently asked all our members to let us know about any plans for rights cuts, as it is in the interest of all stakeholders to prevent the chaotic course of events of last August."

At present, the 340 pension funds that have submitted a recovery plan in 2009 are evaluating the progress of their recovery.

Schemes that are falling short of the mapped out recovery to a funding ratio of at least 105% within five years must consider additional recovery measures, such as cutting pension benefits.

At year-end, the funds will evaluate their financial position again before making a final decision on possible cuts. Additional measures will have to be implemented by 1 April 2012.

The Federation said the arrangements had been agreed not only with the DNB but also the department of social affairs and the Financial Markets Authority (AFM).

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