Pensions supervisor DNB and the communications watchdog AFM are to conduct a joint survey into how pension funds inform participants about the prospects of rights cuts or indexation.
Bert Boertje, director of pension fund supervision at DNB, said both regulators would also check whether schemes’ communication matched their financial positions.
The deteriorating funding ratios at many Dutch schemes, in what has been a “difficult year”, triggered the survey, Boertje said.
“Because it is not very easy to improve their weak financial position, pension funds must make clear what their participants should expect,” he added.
“Although only a few schemes may need to apply rights cuts in 2021, after they have been underfunded for five years, the situation could be different.
“As far as I am concerned, pension funds should already alert their participants to what may happen.”
He said information would not have to be too detailed – indicating simply that “the possibility of a rights discount is 40%” or that “the chances of indexation are very limited during the next three years”.
Pension funds must also explain that their results often depend heavily on market performance, “as many schemes fully lean on surplus returns”.
Boertje said Dutch pension funds had not always communicated clearly about what their participants could expect.
“Therefore, they should enable their participants to ready themselves for limited indexation and possible cuts, so they can take this into account for their financial planning,” he said.
In other news, Jetta Klijnsma, state secretary for Social Affairs, suggested that the €410bn asset manager APG should offer a lower salary to the successor of departing chief executive Dick Sluimers.
In an interview in daily newspaper De Telegraaf, Klijnsma said Sluimers’s salary of €600,000 was “very high”.
She refrained, however, from indicating a salary level that would be acceptable.
In a response, APG – provider for the €345bn civil service scheme ABP – said the salary was in accordance with rules issued by DNB.
Klijnsma also recently confirmed that, for the time being, the Dutch Pensions Register would not be extended with information about accrued third-pillar pension rights.
In a letter to Parliament, she said there was no capacity to extend the website, adding that a number of “practical problems” needed solving first.
Klijnsma was responding to a motion adopted by the Lower House – and tabled by Helma Lodders, MP for the liberal party VVD – aimed at harmonising the current channels for pension information, as well as providing access to the register for pensioners.