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Real-terms funding at Dutch schemes improves to 91.9% on average

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Funding in real terms of Dutch pension funds improved from 86.4% to 91.9% on average last year, according to De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB).

Figures published on the regulator’s website showed that the number of schemes with funding ratio of at least 100% after taking into account inflation rose from 25 to 36 during this period.

DNB requires pension funds to draw their calculations for real-terms funding on expected returns for securities of 6.75%.

With an after-inflation funding ratio of 93.1%, BpfBouw, the €58bn pension fund for the building sector, was in the best financial shape out of the Netherlands’ five biggest schemes.

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Civil service scheme ABP was 82.8% after inflation, while healthcare pension fund PFZW was 79.7% funded. Metal industry schemes PMT and PME both recorded a coverage ratio of 81.4%.

The occupation scheme for dental technicians (Tandtechniek) had the lowest coverage ratio in real terms, with 75.3%. The scheme is set to transfer its pension rights to PFZW on 1 October, with its members incurring a benefit cut of 9.3%.

The €10.3bn occupational pension fund for medical consultants (SPMS) had the highest real-terms funding, 172.9%, due to its unconditional indexation of 3% a year.

The occupational schemes for midwives and physiotherapists also had a high funding level after inflation due to unconditional indexation policies, despite having a shortfall in nominal terms.

The DNB figures also showed that asset management costs rose by 1 basis point to 39bps on average last year.

The €238m pension fund of potato starch company Avebe showed the largest drop, from 70bps to 26bps, following its divestment from hedge funds.

With 9bps, asset management costs (excluding transaction costs) were the lowest at Detailhandel, the €20.8bn pension fund for the retail sector. Including transaction costs this figure rose to 17bps.

Only the small company schemes for Metro, PepsiCo and Sagittarius posted lower combined costs.

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