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Dutch pension scheme PFZW more worried about market turmoil than Greek default

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  • Dutch pension scheme PFZW more worried about market turmoil than Greek default

NETHERLANDS - The €105bn healthcare pension scheme PFZW is less concerned about a Greek default than about the market turmoil the Greek problems are already causing, it has claimed.

PFZW spokesman Bram van Els said: "It is much more the reluctance of European governments to take adequate measures that has triggered a slide of the long-term interest rates, causing pension funds' coverage ratios to tumble 20 percentage points within three months.

"Every time something goes wrong within the euro-zone, the interest on Italian and Spanish government bonds rises, while the interest on Dutch and German government paper decreases."

According to Van Els, PFZW's direct exposure to Greece is almost negligible.

"We still have a couple of dozens of millions of Greek credits in our portfolio, but these won't have a noticeable impact on our coverage ratio," he said. "Moreover, we have invested in sound companies over there."

PFZW's emergency scenarios also cover the effects of further pressure on other countries following the Greek crisis, Van Els said.

"Earlier this year, we have decreased our exposure to Italy, and, for example, we are looking at the options to manage possible risks at counterparties, such as banks," he said.

Van Els declined to elaborate on any additional measures PFZW was considering, or to provide additional figures, due to the "market interference this might cause".

In the spokesman's opinion, the healthcare scheme would be unlikely to invest in the European Financial Stability Facility.

"Our aim is to pay proper pensions against low cost and not to financially support Greece," he said.

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