The average coverage ratio for the largest pension funds in the Netherlands now stands at about 80% in real terms, according to recent statistics compiled by the financial regulator (DNB).
BpfBouw, the €54bn scheme for the Dutch building sector, is the exception among the five largest schemes, with a real funding of 90%.
The coverage ratio relative to inflation at the €372bn civil service scheme ABP stands at 80.6%, while the ratio at the €179bn healthcare fund PFZW is slightly worse at 78%.
Real funding at the large metal schemes PMT and PME was estimated at 79.5% and 79.3%, respectively.
The Dutch regulator has started publishing real-funding figures for the first time, as well as statistics on the costs pension funds incur for administration, asset management and transactions.
It said this was part of its aim to improve transparency with respect to its supervisory work and increase information regarding pension funds’ financial positions.
Last year, the regulator began publishing data on schemes’ premiums, indexation and official ‘policy funding’ – the 12-month average of actual funding, and the criterion for rights cuts and indexation.
Of the approximately 250 pension funds in the Netherlands, 19 boast a real funding of more than 100%.
With real funding of about 166%, SPMS, the €10bn occupational scheme for medical consultants, is in the best position.
The pension funds HAL, Forward (Unilever) and Provisum (C&A) also enjoy relatively high real coverage, of 156%, 134.5% and 127.3%, respectively.
With a funding in real terms of 71.7%, the pension funds for dental technicians, Tandtechniek, and Hoop Terneuzen are at the lowest end of the scale.
The five largest pension funds reported asset management costs of between 0.61% (ABP) and 0.32% (PME), with the Alliance (Nestlé) and Mars schemes incurring the highest costs, of 1.14% and 1.5%, respectively.
Positive exceptions are the pension funds of Ford Netherlands and GPs in training, which both spent 0.13% on asset management.
Transaction costs at the five largest schemes ranged between 0.06% (ABP) and 0.10% (PMT and BpfBouw).
Several pension funds, including Nielsen AC, Norit and Cosun, have kept the cost of their deals limited to 0.01%, according to DNB.
The €67m Pensioenfonds Calpam, which received the Pensioen Pro award for best pension fund in the Netherlands last year, paid 0.02% for transactions and 0.17% for asset management.
Despite administration costs of €1,383 per participant, its real funding came in at 133%.
Meanwhile, in other news, Jetta Klijnsma, state secretary for Social Affairs, said she would assess the possible effect of a longer recovery period on pension funds’ financial positions.
The new financial assessment framework (nFTK) allows for a recovery term of 10 years.
During a debate in Parliament, Klijnsma said she would look into whether this option could offer respite to pension funds facing rights cuts.