NETHERLANDS – Dutch Central Bank president Nout Wellink has said that the current market conditions and interest rates are not that comfortable for pension managers.

“As a leader of a pension fund I would not feel too comfortable at present,” he was quoted as saying in a PGGM newsletter.

The comments come in a debate with Karel Noordzig, chairman of the health care scheme. And they come amid questions about the impact of new Dutch pension legislation both on the schemes themselves and the wider Dutch economy.

Noordzij was generally confident about the future. “If I look at the last 30 years then we as a pension fund have achieved average annual returns of 8.9%. In the last ten years we have – due to the dramatically negative years in 2001 and 2002 – achieved a 9.7% annual return.

Noordzij added: “We want no restrictions in the markets in which we may invest. If we get the space, then we can think further.”

“Security is essential, but we mustn’t pile too much security on top of security,” he said.

Wellink played more of a devil’s advocate role. He stated that we live in an incomparable time with historically low interest rates.

“What will happen if the interest rates rise? Will the stock exchange index fall by 40%? That we don’t know.”