The Dutch Pensions Federation has embraced the government’s proposed “general pension fund” (APF) and called for its speedy introduction. 

Responding to a consultation on the concept legislation, the lobbying organisation said the APF could be a “proper alternative” for pension funds in or near liquidation. 

In a letter to Jetta Klijnsma, state secretary for Social Affairs, it said: “It would be a shame if the APF arrived too late for these schemes, all the more because there is much interest for the concept.”

The APF is meant to become a third type of pension fund in the Netherlands, replacing the cross-border defined benefit vehicle API, which never really took off.

The Pensions Federation said the APF’s speedy introduction was crucial, as many schemes wished to transfer their pension plans before 1 January 2015, the deadline for a number of changes for the industry. 

It suggested the current proposals could be easily adjusted for a not-for-profit alternative, to avoid concluding collective pension arrangements at one of the few commercial insurers in the market.

It also argued that “all kinds of pension funds”, including closed schemes, should be allowed to adopt the APF model. 

But it also called for clarity on the position of industry-wide schemes that implement both mandatory and non-mandatory pension plans.

In addition, all board models should be allowed without additional requirements, limitations or too strict or opaque supervision, it said, which could impede the APF’s succesful introduction.

The Pensions Federation said too many restrictions had made the existing Dutch multi-company scheme unattractive.

Although in the proposed concept, the APF could operate as a commercial entity, the Federation said the debate on this should be postponed for the sake of expediting the decision-making process.