NETHERLANDS – Dutch MPs are set to debate changes to the ABP law on Wednesday.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs has put forward several proposals to bring the existing ABP Law up to date.

ABP spokesman Ferdinand Jadou told IPE that the new proposals presented by internal affairs minister Johan Remkes focus mainly on the necessary legal changes in relation to ongoing pension indexation issues.

These have not been dealt with appropriately because until now pensioners that started before 1996 were still regarded to be in the old law framework, which includes in principle total indexation.

In the new proposals, according to Jadoul, all premiums for ABP pensions are to be on an equal footing. Possible lower indexation or an end to indexation could become a tool for the fund in case of coverage ratio problems. This should be the case because ABP is now to be regarded as privatised.

Liberal Party (VVD) MP Willibrord van Beek, who has ABP issues in his portfolio, stated that the new proposal was causing some heated debate.

According to the VVD, the indexation of pensions should remain in principle. The only time this should be point of discussion is when ABP, or other pension funds, are having coverage ratio problems. The extra costs of restoring these coverage ratios should not only be put on the shoulders of the employers - companies - but sometimes on the other partners as well, the employees.

Remkes’ proposal covers all ABP pensions. In principle possible changes only should cover pensions started after 1995, that is, from the start of the privatisation.

The outcome of the debate on Wednesday is still open, but could have a significant outcome for a major part of Dutch pensioners.