Dutch pensions industry calls for stability
NETHERLANDS - The Dutch pension industry, confronted with unprecented change in the last few years, is calling for a period of stability.
With the direction has been established, the time has come for implementation and focusing on new stability, says the employees' chairman of the Association of industry-wide pension funds, or VB.
"We shouldn't start renovating the pension building all over again,” stressed Benne van Popta, during an informal briefing of policy makers and politicians.
According to Van Popta, the new financial assesment framework FTK, the Pensions Bill, the pension fund governance and the new rules on VUT, pre-pension and 'levensloop', or VPL, are enough issues to deal with.
Although he called the measures 'coherent' , he pointed out a number of issues that need to be solved.
"We need to find a tailor-made approach, if interest rates stay low in the long term. And there must also be a discussion about the pace and the way out, if funding ratios fall short of the minimum of 105% as required by the FTK,” he explained.
On the issue of communication, Van Popta said the industry needs clarity on whether all information has to be on paper, or whether electronic means will be allowed as well.
Van Popta further indicated that an answer is needed to a change in the entrance age to pension funds. "Should we take a general approach, or will we leave the decision to the individual sectors?” he asked.
He announced a uniform and industry-wide pension statement to be introduced in the autumn.
VB represents three-quarters of the total assets of the Dutch pensions industry.
During the meeting, professor Leo Stevens of Rotterdam's Erasmus University seriously criticised the VPL bill. The fiscal economist called the proposed double levy - on the claims as well as on the benefits - on the VUT 'fiscally unhygienic'.
In Stevens' opinion, the VPL bill is unnecessary, has caused a lot of unrest within the Dutch society and is ineffective. "A gradual rise of the indicative pension age from 60 to 65, and no change in the delayed taxation system, would have been much better", he argued.
Professor Stevens wants the exemption to be stopped of premium payment by people of over 65, who receive the pay-as-you-go state pension, or AOW. "This will lighten the burden of the younger working generation", he explained.