NETHERLANDS - Although social affairs minister Aart Jan de Geus still wants the new Pensions Bill come into force as of January 1 2007, he has proposed a one-year transitional period for some aspects.
One exception will apply to mandatory communication, as implementation by the pensions industry requires extra time, the minister has indicated in a further elaboration of the Bill.
In order to avoid overregulation, he’s decided to give up on his initial plan for detailed instructions on communication. The only exception left will apply to information on allowances.
The watchdog Authority Financial Markets, or AFM, will get the power to set additional rules for pension providers on information, in case contribution contracts allow members choice of investment, the minister added.
In order to create more clarity about the assignment of duties between watchdog AFM and regulator De Nederlandsche Bank, the supervision of any rule of the Pension Bill will be the task of only one supervisor, de Geus stressed.
“The AFM is the supervisor of behaviour and communication, DNB checks the prudential and material aspects of the pensions industry.”
“In cases of tangent planes, the supervisors exchange data and make agreements on how they deal with each other’s judgements.”
On transitional rules, de Geus said that no retrospective provisions will apply, and that existing legal relations should be honoured. Deferred members of pension schemes will get the right to receive information on their situation every five years.
Minister de Geus reiterated the need for the Pensions Bill to become law as of January 1. “Maintaining the present transitional rules on the financial assessment framework FTK, without a clear legal basis, will lead to serious problems and confusion on the implementation of the FTK,” he stated.
De Geus has asked parliament to apply sufficient speed that the senate, or Eerste Kamer, can have its readings ample before October 1. He has promised parliament to submit a second implementation order – mainly on communication, supervision and pension fund governance – before August 1.
The minister also announced legislation on the participation of pensioners at pension funds, as requested by the Labour Foundation, or Star, and the CSO, the umbrella for the organisations for the elderly.