An increasing number of Dutch employers is no longer waiting for the final draft of the new financial assessment framework, the FTK, and is now actively seeking alternative pension arrangements for their staff. 

Speaking during the Euroforum congress for employers in Amersfoort, Fokko Covers, director of the €750m pension fund of Elsevier, said many employers were currently busy making other choices.

“To them, the new legislation has become less relevant,” he said.

The Ministry of Social Affairs has delayed the presentation of the final draft of the FTK legislation several times, and the pensions sector has grown increasingly sceptical about the planned introduction date of 1 January 2015.

According to Covers, after several years of waiting, companies in the publishing sector are now heading towards individual defined contribution plans.

He noted that younger participants in particular were likely to accrue a lower pension under such arrangements.

Frans Lemkes, secretary of the €5bn pension fund of employee insurance provider UWV, said: “We are not waiting for the new FTK legislation, and are currently looking for solutions.

“Already in 2011, we established that, even our maximum contribution wasn’t sufficient for financing our pensions and indexation.”

Lemkes also advocated replacing the average premium with a variable pensions accrual, which, he said, would be more beneficial for younger participants.

Also during the employers congress, Arjan Nollen, director of corporate clients at insurer Nationale Nederlanden, said that both employers and pension providers wanted a more flexible approach for the purchase of pension annuities with accrued DC capital.

Currently, these annuities must be bought in a one-off transaction at the official retirement age.

In Nollen’s opinion, such a rigid approach is not sensible, as the future benefits would be determined by the interest level at the moment of purchase.

A low rate could lead to a substantially lower annuity, he argued.

Nollen suggested the option of converting a part of the available assets ahead of the retirement date into a guaranteed pension, and allowing continued saving with the remaining assets after retirement.