NETHERLANDS - If the tax-facilitated retirement age is to be raised it should be carried out in a single step, rather than as a gradual rise, the Dutch pension fund organisations VB, OPF and UvB have argued together with the insurers representative body, VvV .

A step-by-step rise for second and third pillar pensions will cause enormous implementation costs as well as huge problems in communication with participants, the four organisations stated in a joint position paper ahead of parliamentary elections on 9 June.

A majority of members of the outgoing parliament has already indicated it agrees with a gradual rise of the retirement age for the state pension AOW from 65 to 67, but has not yet discussed yet the future of the second and third pillar pensions.

Since the collapse of the governing coalition, both issues have been declared controversial, and any further discussions have been postponed until after the elections.

A gradual rise of the tax-facilitated retirement age over several years, means that pension arrangements will need to be split. Implementation will be highly complex, which will also to be very difficult to explain to the participants, according to the associations.

The organisations also stressed the need for sufficient time for implementation in the case of a statutory rise in the pensionable age.

"As the impact is large and will affect all pension plans, all players involved need to agree on how to adjust their pension arrangements," the organisations explained.

"The parties involved need not only to take into account current adjustments following legislation, but also possible proposals resulting from the cabinet's position on the integral discussions about the future of the pension system," they continued.

The representative organisations further underlined that, from the viewpoint of communication and implementation, a rise of the pensionable age should not take effect before 2015, when transitional arrangements for early retirement finish.