A growing number of Dutch pension funds will move to the new defined contribution (DC) system later than originally planned, giving various reasons for delaying their transition, ranging from a lack of preparedness by their administrators to fear of being the first mover.

Last December, retail industry scheme Detailhandel moved its transition date by a year to 2026, saying unclarity about details in the implementation of the pension law was forcing its hand.

This year, eight additional ‘early birds’ – six sector pension funds and two company schemes – also pushed their planned transition date forward from 1 January 2025 to a later date.

While most of these funds now opt for 1 January 2026, Pensioenfonds Notariaat, the fund for notaries, even moved its transition date by two years to 1 January 2027 on the request of its administrator TKP.

Vervoer, the scheme for the transport sector, has pushed forward its transition date by six months because it does not wish to be an ‘early bird’, according to the fund’s director Willem Brugman.

“We have always indicated we don’t want to be the first client of [our administrator] TKP to move to the new system. This is because we want to avoid the teething troubles that come with reforms like these. In 2023, it still seemed some funds would move in 2024. Now that this has not materialised, we have also delayed our transition plans,” he said.

Oak Pensioen, the sector fund for the furniture and wood processing industries, and Particuliere Beveiliging, the scheme for security personnel, also moved their transition dates to 2026, citing a lack of detail regarding the implementation of the new pension law.

Pension funds scheduled to make the transition to DC by 2025
Pension Fund  Administrator
 APG personeelspensioenfonds  APG
 Horeca & Catering  self-administered
 Bakkers  TKP
 Zoetwaren  TKP
 Dierenartsen  Achmea
 Loodsen  Blue Sky Group
 Fysiotherapeuten  Achmea
 Openbare Bibliotheken  AZL
 Levensmiddelen  AZL

The pension fund for the leisure sector, Recreatie, as well as company pension funds AkzoNobel and Provisum, also moved their planned transition dates away from 2025.

“The decision-making process took more time than expected. Social partners and the pension fund board regularly run into unclarities,” said Coen Verdegaal, director of the AkzoNobel scheme.

Provisum, the pension fund of clothing store C&A, said on its website that its IT-suppliers have “serious capacity problems”, forcing the fund to delay its transition plans.

Given the flurry of postponements, the ranks of the early birds are rapidly shrinking. As of April 2024, only 10 pension funds are still scheduled to move to a new DC arrangement by 1 January 2025.

These include six sector schemes, three professional funds and one company pension fund, the staff fund of pension asset manager APG.

However, some of these funds are also considering postponing their transition. Among these are Bakkers and Zoetwaren, the funds for the bakery and confectionary sectors.

“The chance that we will make the transition on 1 January 2025 has become very small. We will probably move our transition to 1 January 2026,” said Peter Mannaert, the president of Bakkers.

Hospitality industry fund Horeca & Catering and librarians fund Openbare Bibliotheken are also not sure they’ll make it, citing regulatory constraints and uncertainty about the final details of the legislation.

This article was first published on Pensioen Pro, IPE’s Dutch sister publication. It was translated and adapted for IPE by Tjibbe Hoekstra