NETHERLANDS - As of 2006, the million members of Dutch civil service pension fund ABP will have to deal with a new scheme, which will overall increase their pension date, it said in a statement.

By supporting the initial main agreement between ABP’s member-employers and workers, their rank and file has decided that the scheme will introduce a ChoicePension, which will allow retirement between 60 and 70, it added.

Until now its members have been able to (partly) retire between 55 and 65, under flexible arrangements.

According to ABP, the change is necessary because tax relief for under 55’s will stop next year. But members older than 55 however will keep benefits.

“The new scheme will offer more flexibility in the retirement age and partly retirement. It will also increase the possibilities of exchange of old age pension and surviving dependants’ pension,” ABP said.

Under the new arrangements, an employee can expect a benefit of 70% of his average salary, if he retires at 62 years and nine months after 40 years of service, the scheme explained.

Meanwhile, the three umbrella organisations of the Dutch pensions industry have developed a uniform pension statement. It will be officially presented to Social Affairs’ minister Aart Jan de Geus on October 26.

The one-page statement will show the combined build-up of rights - including for surviving dependants and flexible pension - at all employers, director Peter Borgdorff of the Association of Industry-wide Pension Funds, or VB, said.

Active members and deferred will receive the uniform statement every year and every five years respectively, he added. Individual pension funds will keep the option of their own statement. The pension funds will start using the uniform statement as of 2007.