Pension providers in the Netherlands should offer tailor-made communications to meet the unique needs and characteristics of their participants, as well as narrow the gap between expectations and actual final benefits, according to Jetta Klijnsma, state secretary at the Dutch Ministry of Social Affairs.
Outlining her views in a consultation document for a legislative update, she said participants must be offered a personal and interactive overall view on their pension prospects.
Klijnsma said she wanted to give providers more leeway for shaping communications, offering information in layers, as well as digitally, and providing information on risks and purchasing power.
To achieve her goal, the state secretary wants to extend and change the national Pensions Registry gradually into a ‘pensions dashboard’, which would show the expected pensions income directly.
The communications instrument must also show the financial effects of “important choices” – such as early or later retirement, part-time retirement and value transfer – as well as significant changes in participants’ personal situations, such as divorce.
In Klijnsma’s opinion, the registry should also provide insight into future purchasing power and risks, reflecting “optimistic, expected and pessimistic” scenarios.
In her consultation document, the state secretary further said basic information about the pensions plan in the initial letter issued to new participants should become permanently available on the pension provider’s website.
In addition, the uniform pension statement (UPO) and the Pensions Registry must offer differing information, with the first focusing on accrued rights and the latter indicating the combined pension income at the official retirement age.
The current legislation for pensions communication dates from 2007.
A survey by TNO Nipo conducted in 2012 suggested that 43% of the interviewed participants had trouble understanding the information in the UPO and the initial letter.
Alfred Kool, communications strategist at Towers Watson, underlined the importance of Klijnsma’s focus on participants and a tailor-made approach, while the Pensions Federation said it was too early to comment.