NETHERLANDS - A Rotterdam court has ordered the €400m pension fund of supermarket Super de Boer to submit a final recovery plan to the Dutch pensions watchdog that could include a benefits discount.
The court turned down the scheme's request for a delay after it had lodged an appeal against the regulator's decision to reject an already adjusted recovery plan.
According to pension fund officials, the regulator has already rejected several versions of its recovery plan due to the fact they were based on an interest-free deferred loan of €10m from its sponsoring company.
During the 12-year duration of this conditional loan, the pension fund must refrain from granting any indexation, they added.
The scheme's board argued that its rejected recovery construction was "sound and sustainable" and experts had confirmed it provided "the best results for recovery".
"Moreover," the board added, "the construction is fully transparent and fits within the legal framework."
At the end of February, the coverage ratio of Pensioenfonds Super de Boer was 97.7%, an increase of 0.9 percentage points compared with the previous month after an absolute low of 86.2% in 2008.
The pension fund was unavailable for further comment.
The Super de Boer scheme is the last Dutch pension fund still lacking an approved recovery plan. In 2009, 340 Dutch pension funds with a funding shortfall had to submit a recovery plan indicating how they expected to improve their financial position to a coverage ratio of at least 105% within five years.
A spokesman for the regulator said: "We don't support loans to be accounted as part of a pension fund's assets, as loans are a less hard part of the assets."
Pensioenfonds SdB has 4,890 active participants, 16,660 deferred members and 1,965 pensioners.