NETHERLANDS - The Dutch House of Representatives approved the new pensions act and voted on its proposed amendments on Wednesday.

The act replaces the previous pensions law, which dates back to 1952, tidying up half a century of amendments and bringing legislation in line with EU directives.

Set to come into force next year, the new law requires pension schemes to value assets and liabilities at market rate, it introduces the mandatory ‘Levensloop', a life-course savings scheme intended to finance periods of unpaid leave during a working life, and it introduces the new FTK or Financial Assessment framework.

Also various amendments, which emphasised the need for transparency of the indexation quality of a pension scheme, have been accepted.

The speedy introduction caused controversy, as there was a feeling that Minister of Social Affairs Aart Jan de Geus was bulldozing it through.

The spokeswoman of the Dutch association of industry-wide pension funds (VB), Gerda Smits, commented: "We have always said that we are not so much against a rapid implementation date, but that we are very much in favour of a diligent policy."

The law will still have go through the Dutch senate before it can be implemented.

Also the second chamber yesterday supported a motion for a national pension debate put forward by Dutch labour MP Gerdi Verbeet, the setting-up process of which will be lead by the Social Economic Council (SER).