NETHERLANDS – An initiative by PGGM and ABP to set up a support fund for elderly victims of the Asian tsunami disaster has met with a negative response from members.

A main member group within health care scheme PGGM opposes a relief fund on the grounds principal. The national union of pension holders has described the initiative as ‘patronising’.

In the meantime approximately 2,000 individual members of the 1.2 million PGGM members have turned down the proposal of their scheme. “Either they disagreed principally or they objected to the way the idea had been put forward to them,” said scheme spokesman Alfred Kool. For reasons of costs saving the scheme had asked its members only to respond if they don’t agree, instead of mailing all of them.

“Apparently there are still many more member who do agree. But before a final decision will be made in early April, our account management will consult several hundreds of the largest participating institutions,” Kool stressed.

PGGM and ABP – the two largest Dutch pension schemes – took their initiative in January. PGGM has asked each of its members to make a one-off donation of one euro. ABP will unveil a proposal for a voluntary contribution in its magazine in April.