mast image

Special Report

Impact investing


Funding drop blocks pension transfers for millions of Dutch workers

Related Categories

Falling funding levels at some of the largest pension schemes in the Netherlands are preventing nearly 3m workers from transferring between schemes when changing employers. 

Over the third quarter of this year, four of the five largest industry-wide pension funds – civil service scheme ABP, healthcare pension fund PFZW and the metal schemes PMT and PME – saw their official coverage ratios drop below the critical 100% level.

As a consequence, they are legally obliged to suspend incoming and outgoing value transfers.

The four large sector schemes have nearly 2.8m active participants in total, representing more than one-third of the Dutch workforce.


The €39bn PME, for example, which has 167,000 active participants, said it had received almost 9,000 requests for value transfers last year.

The €5bn sector fund PNO Media, the €800m Dutch scheme of publishing company Reed Elsevier (SPEO) and the €3bn occupational pension fund for physiotherapists (SPF) also had to cease value transfers for participants changing jobs.

According to the latest statistics, dating back to 2010, research company SEO Economisch Onderzoek calculated that 114,600 employees in total transferred their pension rights to the pension fund of their new employers.

In its analysis of the survey – commissioned by the Ministry for Social Affairs – it said the number represented 40% of workers who had actually been in a position to transfer their pension rights. 

At the time, the number of pension funds was much higher than the approximately 265 schemes that exist at the moment.

The number of schemes being forced to suspend pension-right transfers is set to increase, as the policy funding – based on a scheme’s coverage over the previous 12 months – at many Dutch pension funds is now just over 100%. 

As long as a pension fund’s policy coverage remains short of 100%, it will have to suspend value transfers.

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment


Your first step in manager selection...

IPE Quest is a manager search facility that connects institutional investors and asset managers.

  • QN-2558

    Asset class: Private Equity.
    Asset region: Global or Swiss.
    Size: USD $5-10m.
    Closing date: 2019-08-20.

  • QN-2559

    Asset class: Multi Assets.
    Asset region: -.
    Size: EUR 15m (may be split into two mandates EUR 7.5m).
    Closing date: 2019-09-06.

  • QN-2560

    Asset class: Private Equity.
    Asset region: Global.
    Size: $40m.
    Closing date: 2019-08-30.

  • QN-2561

    Asset class: Infrastructure.
    Asset region: Global.
    Size: $40m.
    Closing date: 2019-08-30.

Begin Your Search Here