The Netherlands must not delay its pension system reform and should adopt a more flexible approach to achieve the overhaul, according to Cardano’s Stefan Lundbergh.

“If conclusions are not drawn soon, history will hold us to account,” warned Lundbergh, director of Cardano Insights.

Speaking at the annual conference of IPE’s Dutch sister publication Pensioen Pro in Amsterdam on Wednesday, he highlighted that discussions about a new pensions system in the Netherlands have been dragging on for 12 years.

Recently, a Dutch daily newspaper published a leaked draft of a pensions agreement concluded between employers and trade unions, which suggested that a pensions contract under real terms was the favoured option of the social partners, rather than individual pensions accrual with collective risk sharing.

The lack of concrete results was, in his opinion, due to the sector’s “fixed mindset”, which focused on avoiding risks, such as mandatory pensions saving, financial education of participants, increased transparency and government regulation.

“However, mandatory savings does not per se increase people’s motivation to increase saving,” he put into perspective.

In his opinion, the sector must become more flexible and increase its focus on uncertainty, assess what does work and what doesn’t and adjust accordingly.

“Look at how the world works and seek sufficient and robust solutions,” he said, “and keep on observing and adjusting to avoid the need for another system update in 15 years’ time.”

Lundbergh is also non-executive trustee at AP4, one of Sweden’s first-pillar buffer funds.

For more coverage of Pensioen Pro’s annual conference, visit the website.