IBM withholds indexation as BPF Bouw imposes limit
NETHERLANDS - BPF Bouw, the pension fund for the building industry, will only grant its active participants an indexation of their pension claims for 2009 while IBM is holding off from paying it this year.
The €25bn BPF scheme has increased the pension rights of its workers by 0.72%, while the pension claims of its pensioners and deferred members remain unchanged, as the fund now had a cover ratio of 102.6% at the end of 2008, down from 141% at the end of 2007.
The building scheme also raised its contributions from 14.9% to 18.9% of pensionable salary, while employees - depending on the branch of the industry - will pay between 5.5% and 8.1%,.
BPF Bouw lost "only" €1.5bn of assets during 2008, according to spokesman Franck Erkens who attributed the limit on losses to the scheme's 50%-interest hedge as well as its 25%-property allocation, which performed relatively well.
Elsewhere, the pension fund of electronics giant IBM has announced it will not grant any indexation for 2009, and the company has instead decided to pay €61m to make up for the scheme's shortfall.
The cover ratio of the IBM scheme - also known as SPIN - had dropped to 102.4% by the end of last year, from over 152% a year earlier when its assets were €3bn.
SPIN will review the options for making up for the indexation shortfall, though not earlier than 1 January 2010, as soon as its funding ratio has recovered to over 120%, officials said.
The scheme's indexation policy is to deliver three-quarters of the consumers' index so last year granted inflation compensation on pensions worth 0.79%
Based on the current cover ratio, its participants can expect an indexation which is largely in line with its policy over the coming years, officials argued.
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