The Dutch government is set to introduce a proposal to embed the amended European Pensions Directive – known as IORP II – into local law.
EU member states have to implement the changes by January 2019 at the latest.
The law amendment was mentioned in a planning letter for 2018, which Minister of Social Affairs Wouter Koolmees and State Secretary Tamara van Ark sent to the Netherlands’ House of Commons last Friday.
The Netherlands will have to align the Dutch Pensions Act, its act concerning compulsory membership of occupational pension funds and its Financial Supervision Act (WFT) on several points with the amended IORP Directive.
The previous government sent the Commons an overview of articles to be changed in spring last year, before the Netherlands’ general election. According to the list the impact will be minor. The concrete translation into law will follow in the next quarter. The proposal has been sent to the Council of State (RvS) before being put before parliament.
There are currently two other legislative proposals waiting to be dealt with at the Dutch House of Commons. The first allows for the merger of mandatory industry-wide pension funds with a ringfenced equity base for each of the merger partners. The Dutch pension industry heavily objected to the proposal in its current form.
The second legislative proposal was a draft initiative from MP Martin van Rooijen of 50Plus, the Dutch political party for the elderly, to amend the discount rate for liabilities in order to stop pension funds from having to cut benefits. The parliamentary debate on this is scheduled for this week.
The planning letter did not contain a single word on reforms of the pension system, which were a major talking point of last year’s election.
The letter did, however, announce various assessments, such as the final evaluation of the Pension Equalisation Act (Wet verevening pensioenrechten) and the evaluation of the amended financial assessment framework (FTK). Both are on the agenda for the first quarter. This also applies to the evaluation of the act to strengthen pension fund governance structures (Wet versterking bestuur pensioenfonds).
Later this month another letter is expected regarding pension fund communication. This is expected to clarify how many schemes have published their recovery plan on their website.