NETHERLANDS - The pension fund for the Dutch paint and printing ink industry and the scheme of building company Ballast Nedam are set to apply early benefits cuts for all of their participants at the beginning of next year.

The €165m industry-wide Pensioenfonds voor de Verf- en Drukwerkindustrie said it needed to apply a 5.9% discount to raise its funding ratio of 86% to the required minimum of 105%.

In addition, it will bring forward a planned 1% contribution increase for employers, which will now be introduced on 1 January 2011.

However, the scheme noted that the planned cuts would not apply to workers who have joined the pension fund as part of a collective value transfer in 2009, after having accrued a pension with insurer Nationale Nederlanden.

The scheme's board said it very much regretted the measures, as the pension fund's assets were at a "historic high", after an increase of almost 50% during the past 18 months.

The surge in assets, however, has largely been offset by dropping long-term interest rates - the criterion for discounting liabilities - as well as the forecasted increase of longevity.

In other news, the €700m company scheme of Ballast Nedam said it could not avoid a 3% benefits on 1 January, after pensions regulator De Nederlandsche Bank rejected its request for a six-month delay.

The pension fund of the building firm saw its funding ratio drop from 89% to 86% during the third quarter, following decreasing interest rates and after adding 6% to its liabilities for increased longevity.

Meanwhile, the €98m pension plan of corporate advice bureau GITP announced that it has been exempted by the DNB from applying a benefits discount on 1 January.

It added, however, that a cut was still an option in future.

GTIP's scheme has factored in a 4.1% discount on 1 April 2012, if its recovery remains short of its mapped out improvement.