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Regulatory pressure forces Dutch scheme to consider liquidation

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Dutch consumer industry group Consumentenbond has said it is exploring its options on the future of its €70m pension fund, including the possible liquidation of the scheme. 

Chairman Rob Bakker said “sharply increased” financial and administrative burdens were proving a growing obstacle for maintaining the scheme’s independence, but he also warned that the board’s continuity was “at stake”.

He said four of the six current trustees were over 60, and that he himself had decided to step down at the end of the year, after 10 years at the helm.

According to Bakker, one of the options for the scheme will be to join a non-mandatory industry-wide pension fund, such as PGB, which does not require an incoming scheme to change its pension arrangements.

He also noted that the best solution for pensioners could be placing their pension rights with an insurer, which must guarantee their benefits.

Another potential option could be the proposed APF, although Bakker said this would depend on the ultimate shape of the new pensions vehicle.

The pension fund’s policy funding – the new criterion for indexation and rights cuts – was 115.1% as of the end of February.

The scheme said it expected this figure, based on the 12-month average of current funding, to decrease.

In an additional clarification, Bakker cited “ever-expanding” supervisory pressure from regulator De Nederlandsche Bank.

“Moreover,” he said, “the new financial assessment framework is likely to raise costs for small pension funds.”

Last year, the regulator fined the Consumentenbond scheme €17,500 for twice failing to meet deadlines for the submission of documents.

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