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Dutch regulator: Determining risk attitude in DC schemes must be improved

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Pension funds with defined contribution (DC) plans and specialist low-cost DC vehicles usually don’t meet the legal requirements for determining the risk attitude among scheme members, according to the Dutch pensions regulator.

In a letter to pension funds, De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) said this can lead to too much or too little risk being taken with the investments.

The regulator investigated seven PPIs – as Netherlands’ low-cost DC vehicles are known – and the approximately forty pension funds with a defined contribution scheme. Some providers met the legal requirements for determining the risk attitude, but DNB found deficiencies with most of them.

A large number of pension providers set the risk attitude in the DC scheme, which is often additional to the defined benefit (DB) scheme, equal to that of the benefit agreement in the main scheme. The risk attitude for the DC plan would not have been investigated separately, resulting in the use of the wrong level of risk. 

It also transpired that the pension funds and PPIs had not explicitly examined their scheme members’ preferences. According to DNB, in the instances where providers had determined risk attitudes based on existing lifecycles, they had insufficiently substantiated whether this would also be the best choice for the members.

DNB mentioned a number of best practices, among which were a risk preference study among scheme members, panel sessions and individual interviews.

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  • De Nederlandsche Bank DNB

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