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VB launches broadside against government

NETHERLANDS - The government must stop issuing new regulations for the pensions industry and create a stable climate for pension funds, says the Association of Industry-wide Pension Funds, or VB.

In a response to the national budget, the VB seriously criticises the overzealousness of the government. "The bombardment of regulations doesn't square with security, the limitation of costs and pension consciousness,” it said.

According to the association, this year has seen so much preparations for new legislation, that the communication to the members, and the implementation by pension schemes and providers, has almost become impossible.

In 2006, all pension funds will be confronted by the new financial asessment framework, or FTK, the Pensions bill, the effects of abolishing VUT and pre-pension schemes, and the introduction of the 'levensloop', or life-course, scheme.

The VB still opposes the FTK requirement that a coverage ratio of under 105% must be repaired within a year. "It will lead to smaller returns and less indexation, because the pension funds need to invest with much less risk,” it predicts.

Another bottle-neck is the low interest rate, which has hit funding ratios. "The crucial question is whether the government will try to skim the surpluses again, once the rates start rising,” it said.

The VB also fears too much regulatory pressure from the new Pensions Bill, which will probably be debated in parliament this autumn.

"The proposed minimum entry age of 18 will make pension schemes and administration more expensive, partly because of many small and often temporarily jobs.”

Furthermore, the VB wants to be allowed to communicate the pension entitlements by internet as well, rather than solely on paper.

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