Dutch government 'up in arms' over IORP directive proposals
NETHERLANDS - The Dutch parliament and cabinet is "up in arms" over the harmful effects it believes a revised IORP directive would have on the local pensions system.
In a letter to parliament, social affairs minister Henk Kamp said: "If the Solvency II accounting rules for insurers are also made applicable to pension funds, Dutch schemes will have to increase their financial buffers by 11%.
"The proposed increase of the certainty level for benefits from the current 97.5% to 99.5% will mean an unnecessary increase in contributions, further postponement of indexation and possibly additional discounts of pension rights."
Kamp added that, for the Dutch government, it was "all hands on deck" to "turn the tide".
The European Commission is set to hold a public consultation later today on proposals for a revised Institutions for Occupational Retirement Provision (IORP) directive.
Minister Kamp said he had the support of Dutch employers, employees and MEPs, but added that the "deployment" of prime minister Mark Rutte might be necessary.
According to Kamp, the UK, Ireland, Germany and the Netherlands - countries with similar pensions systems - have all agreed to show a united front against proposals to apply Solvency II rules to pension funds.
"Other European countries, such as France, don't want competition for their pension insurers from Dutch pension funds because they want to keep a level playing field," he added.
However, Kamp also said he had received a "positive response" from his French counterpart when discussing the Dutch position, adding that he planned to visit his Swedish counterpart again for support.
Almost all political parties in parliament have voiced concerns about the consequences of what they believe will be the European Commission's proposals for the Dutch pensions system.
In a position paper, the Dutch Pension Federation questioned the ability of the European supervisor EIOPA to properly assess the views of all stakeholders given the short time frame available.
According to the representative organisation, quantitative rules for pension funds should not be harmonised on a European level, and even then would require at extensive impact assessments.