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Fewer Dutch schemes to cut pension rights than expected – DNB

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Fewer Dutch pension funds will need to cut pension rights than previously expected, as several employers have paid additional contributions to plug funding gaps at their schemes, according to regulator De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) and the Pensions Federation. 

The federation has published a list of 26 schemes that are to cut pension rights on 1 April, adding that three other smaller pension plans have said they wanted to remain anonymous.

Initially, 38 pension funds were expected to apply rights cuts.

The DNB said the discount would be 1.3% on average, rather than the 1.7% estimated after the round of rights cuts a year ago.

However, in a separate announcement, the regulator noted that both the number of schemes facing a discount as well as the exact percentage of the individual cuts was still subject o change, as it was still assessing a number of recovery plans.

The watchdog confirmed that two pension funds had requested an exemption from a rights discount, adding that it would reject them unless the schemes could demonstrate that the costs of a discount would outweigh the positive effects on their funding.

The DNB said it was still looking into the case of a pension fund that “thinks it does not need to apply a rights cut”.

A spokesman at the regulator declined to confirm whether the comment applied to the €48bn metal scheme PMT, which has decided that a funding shortage of 0.2 percentage points at year-end would not justify a second discount.

According to the DNB, the updated figures for rights cut will hit 200,000 pensioners, 300,000 active participants and 600,000 deferred members, rather than the 700,000, 1.3m and 1.1m, respectively, initially expected.

The hardest hit pension fund will be the €49m scheme of glass manufacturer Royal Leerdam, which has to cut rights by 7%.

The pension funds of Sappi and Jaarbeurs have announced discounts of 5.5% and 4.7%, respectively, while the schemes for public pharmacists (SPOA) and former retail chain C1000 said they would decrease pensions by 4.6% each.

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