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ABP and PGGM set up tsunami support fund

NETHERLANDS - ABP and PGGM, Holland's biggest pension funds, are setting up a support fund for elderly people in Asia who have lost children in the tsunami disaster.

Both funds donated a start capital of E1m to get the fund, called 'Support Fund Provision for Old Age', started.

ABP and PGGM made the announcement on the day the Dutch people raised an unprecedented E112m via an hours-long telethon held on various television and radio channels. It is estimated over 80% of all Dutch people have donated money to the relief effort under way in Southeast Asia.

In a joint statement, ABP and PGGM said the initiative "fits in with the core activity of both pension funds as well as with our philosophy, which is based on solidarity and collectivity."

The funds called on their participants and pensioners to make contributions to the fund, while other pension funds were invited to join.

ABP and PGGM said the social structures in Asia made the foundation of the fund a necessity. "In Asia, a lot of elderly people are dependent on their children in their old age.

Elderly people who have lost their children in the disaster therefore no longer have a pension. Although this structural problem could be huge, it has so far been overlooked in the overall relief effort."

Both pension funds said they hoped to present their plans in a few weeks time. "Pension funds are normally reluctant to use their money for other things than pensions. But ABP and PGGM felt they had to take this step because of the seriousness of the situation in Southeast Asia," the funds said.

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