A new pensions system in the Netherlands focusing on individual pensions accrual could end in failure as a result of disagreement within the pensions sector, Coen Teulings, former director of the Bureau for Ecomomic Policy Analysis (CPB), has warned. 

Speaking at an event for economists organised by supervisor De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB), Teulings cited the UK and the US as examples of countries where individual systems had failed.

He said discord was “one of the seven scourges” preventing the Dutch pensions sector from approaching politicians in The Hague with a single voice.

“Given the complexity of pensions, this is bad,” he said, reiterating his previous call for the sector to take the initiative in the reform of the system.

Peter Borgdorff, director of the €161bn healthcare scheme PFZW, echoed Teulings’s view that pension funds did not excel in operating jointly.

But he argued that the sector had learned from the experience leading up to the new financial assessment framework (nFTK).

He added that a Dutch Pensions Federation working group, chaired by an external expert, was “trying to find common ground – albeit a position with options”.

Teulings, meanwhile, said the Dutch pensions system was under threat from a “too low tax burden” for the self-employed, the separation of pension funds and their providers, low returns, and the ongoing dispute between younger and older generations about average pension contribution and accrual.

He suggested that the salary ceiling for tax-friendly pensions accrual – currently set at €100,000 – could be lowered again, following pressure in particular from “left-leaning political parties”.

He said the regulator was an “additional plague” and that it discouraged pension funds from taking investment risk “when taking these risks is necessary due to the continuing low interest environment”.