Dutch Pension Federation wins partial victory over 'misleading' adverts
NETHERLANDS - The Dutch Advertising Code Committee (RCC) has rejected part of a complaint claiming that the Pension Federation's recent TV campaign to raise the profile of the country's pensions system was misleading.
However, the RCC also ruled that the Federation's assertion that pension funds' board members did not receive bonuses was "too absolute", as it failed to mention that directors and independent chairmen had the option of receiving financial compensation.
"The average consumer can't easily distinguish a director or a chairman from board members," the committee added.
The RCC therefore called on the Pension Federation to clarify the issue or refrain from making similar claims.
The committee also took exception to the Federation's claim that a participant in a pension fund would always receive much more in benefits than had been paid in contributions.
It said the Federation should have mentioned that this only applied to retirement at the current official retirement age of 65.
PensioenOpStand - a cooperative between the youth branches of five political parties and the Alternative for Labour Union - filed the initial complaint, which claimed the advertising campaign had been misleading.
It said the Federation had wrongly attributed pension funds' current problems with the financial crisis and argued that the real cause had been ignorance, mismanagement and the government's siphoning of surplus assets from large civil service scheme ABP.
It also contested the Federation's claim that combined pension assets were higher than ever, pointing out that this also applied to liabilities.
The Federation said it was "not unhappy" with the ruling, as it "encouraged public debate" and allowed it to refute "misunderstandings".
Both parties can now appeal the RCC's decision; PensioenOpStand said it was still considering whether to make such a move.