NETHERLANDS – Parliament has delayed the proposed merger of Dutch central bank (DNB) and the pensions supervisory board (PVK) pension funds after its scrutiny uncovered “excessively generous” deals for the boards’ members as the regulator was cracking down on other funds’ costs.

The decision earlier in the week came after parliamentarian Pieter Omtzigt forced a reopening of the debate on the merger and pushed through an amendment to the bill making the Finance Minister, Gerrit Zalm, directly responsible for the salary packages of central bank and pensions supervisory board members.

The debate came after Zalm disclosed the board members’ salary levels, correcting information he had given during a previous debate.
“They were excessively generous terms, to put it mildly,” Omtzigt told IPE.

In a written reply Zalm had revealed that at least one member of the DNB board was getting a salary and pension package of €600,000 a year, some €200,000 more than Zalm had previously claimed.
“Collectively the board members also got an extra €1.5m in pre-pension payments,” Omtzigt said.

Omtzigt is a deputy for the Christian Democrats (CDA), the largest party in the governing coalition. “We are in favour of the merger but we were very unpleasantly surprised when we discovered just how generous the pension package of the pension supervisory board was, especially after they had forced many others to take a smaller pension,” he said.

”In addition, they had a pre-pension age of 60 while they had insisted that everybody works until 65,” Omtzigt said. “And last year the pension payments of the central bank amounted to 80% of wages, which we consider a world record.”

During the debate Zalm announced that the board members would cede elements of their pre-pension entitlements.
Zalm’s Liberal party (VVD) is in coalition with the CDA but on this issue the CDA can count on the support of the opposition Labour party (PvdA).