NETHERLANDS - Insurers will get extra leeway in implementing the new Pensions Act, Social Affairs minister Aart Jan de Geus has said.

Because insurers need to conclude new contracts with every individual employer, they need more time, and therefore will be granted a transitional period of two-years period, the minister indicated in a further clarification of the transitional legislation.

The Dutch Association of Insurers had asked for leeway until 2010.

According to de Geus, the pension funds will be allowed a transitional period of one year.

The minister made clear that it is still the aim of the governments that the new Pensions Act will come into force as of January 1 2007. However, the legislation still needs approval of the Senate.

Some parts of the Pensions Act, e.g. the new financial assessment framework FTK, will take effect immediately.

As of January 1 2008, pension funds need to provide their participants an indexation table, as a qualitative and visual indication of the expectations on indexation. It must offer an insight in the degree of certainty of the build-up of pension claims or a current pension.

 Since the extra delay granted, the insurers will also be allowed to send their participants a limited ‘starting letter' in 2008, the minister indicated.

As part of the new Pensions Act, pension schemes must offer participants the option of exchanging part of the old-age pension for a partner pension when they end their participation.

Furthermore, pension providers don't have to set mandatory investment limits for participants in defined contribution schemes with choice of investment. And an independent committee will advise the minister on a change of the parameters of the FTK.

Parliament has decided that the Pension Act will be evaluated within 5 years after it has come into force.

Transitional legislation - the ‘Invoerings- en aanpassingswet Pensioenwet' - still needs to be discussed in parliament.