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Dutch in line with pension directive – de Geus

NETHERLANDS - The Dutch pensions legislation has been fully brought in line with the EU’s directive on occupational pension schemes, Social Affairs’ minister Aart Jan de Geus has announced.

“Cross-border membership is possible now,” he said, answering questions from parliament. “But because the Netherlands will keep its mandatory membership, employers whose schemes are mandatory, can’t move their pension funds abroad”.

According to the minister, the directive on institutions for occupational retirement provision doesn’t apply to the new financial assessment framework, or FTK. “The Dutch system remains the basis for the FTK,” he stressed.

De Geus doesn’t agree that a more lenient supervisory regime elsewhere might tempt Dutch schemes to depart. “The social partners on boards, who have concluded the scheme as part of the labour agreements, have a large stake in securing the pensions promises,” he explained.

The minister didn’t have any indication that Dutch pension funds are considering leaving – or that foreign schemes were planning moving to Holland.

“The financial supervision in the Netherlands might be attractive, because the FTK is aimed at securing the pension liabilities, and a stable system. Moreover, because of the abolition of the capital gains tax, a first step has been taken towards an attractive tax climate for investment institutions.”

De Geus explained his intention to separate the governance and management tasks of pension funds, by referring to “the new dynamics caused by the directive”.

A fitting model might be one containing all activities associated with pension arrangements based on labour agreements, but without the “organising of solidarity” by employers and workers, he said.

“Within the European Council of Ministers, we think our three-pillar pensions system, with its mix of pay-as-you-go and capital funding, is a good example of financial tenacity in the perspective of an ageing population”, de Geus reiterated.

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