NETHERLANDS - The €23.7bn Dutch metal scheme PME has said it will not apply early benefits cuts on 1 January 2011.

The pension fund said it had satisfied the pensions regulator De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB), after an evaluation of its recovery plan, that a discount would be unnecessary.

In August, former social affairs minister Piet Hein Donner said PME was one of 14 pension funds that would need to bring forward benefit cuts to lift its funding ratio to at least 105%.

In its recovery plan, the industry-wide scheme for the Metalektro had already factored in a 4.4% cut should its improvement fall short of the mapped out recovery.

However, following comments by the DNB on increased longevity, PME indicated that it would carry out a study into the specific effects of the latest predictions on its population.

According to Gerda Smits, spokeswoman for PME, the pension fund has not yet factored in the Actuarial Society's most recent forecasts.

"At the moment, we are expecting that this will lead to an increase of our liabilities of approximately 4%," she said.

As at the end of October, the pension fund's coverage ratio was 96% - its funding will have to be increased to 96.2% by the end of 2010.

In other news, the €230m Dutch scheme of oil company Total said it would not need to apply an early benefits discount either.

Its coverage ratio was 95.2% as at the end of October, 0.9 percentage points above the level that would trigger cuts, it said.

Meanwhile, the €27m Dutch scheme of marketing bureau JWT said it had avoided a looming benefits cut due to an extra contribution from the employer.

It will also liquidate itself, after its assets were moved into a guaranteed pension plan with insurer Nationale Nederlanden, according to Willem Roobol, the scheme's chairman.

At the end of June, the JWT scheme had a coverage ratio of 83%.