NETHERLANDS – Wouter Bos, parliamentary chairman of the opposition Labour Party, has called for a move from a strict defined benefit pension system to something more like defined contribution in the coming years.

Such a call is likely to spark renewed conflict between the party and the social partners. The comments show that the party has radically changed in some areas of pensions policy.

Bos – seen as a possible future prime minister - indicated that he would like to see a kind of collective DC system, which would be more “honest” than the current DB arrangements.

He stated that the current DB system is no clear to members about the end result – and that members are always hoping for more than they will be able to get.

He was speaking at an event this week organised by the Netspar pension research institute and ING.

Jan Nijssen, global head of pensions at ING, said he agreed with Bos on the collective solidarity issue. But he hoped there would be room for a so-called public-private partnership for the third pillar.

Bos added that he might reconsider the life-course savings scheme, or ‘levensloop’ – and that he wanted move towards the Scandinavian model for public services.

Bos said there is growing need for increased labour participation. This would not only be supported by increasing overall working hours (from 36 to 40 hours per week), or raising the pension age to 67.

It would also come via extra childcare facilities and the creation of a market for customised personal services.