NETHERLANDS – Dutch pension regulators are the “cannibals” of pension funds, making it difficult for schemes to survive, according to a senior figure at Delta Lloyd.

The government is destroying the pensions system with tough supervisory requirements and the removal of fiscal incentives of pre-pension, according to Delta Lloyd’s director of group actuarial and risk management, Laurens Roodbol.

Roodbol’s claims follow widespread research undertaken by the Delta Lloyd insurance group regarding the concerns of pension scheme governing bodies and members.

Roodbol told IPE that 80% of pension fund board members see increasing complexity as a real threat.

According to the results, roughly a third of pension fund operators believe running a company pension fund is becoming increasingly difficult due to tougher supervision and stricter expertise requirements.

The Financieel Dagblad newspaper also reported that 10% of company schemes have thrown in the towel and established pension schemes with insurers or within larger companies.

Roodbol – speaking at a Delta Lloyd ‘Survival of the Fittest’ conference in Arnhem – warned that because fewer risks can be taken under the new supervisory regime, sub-optimal pension accruals will arise in the future.

He was reported as saying: “The Dutch pension system is under threat… It can now be stated that the government is the largest threat to Dutch pension funds.”

Roodbol told IPE the conference centred on the discussion that “you have to change as a pension fund to survive in these surroundings”.

It covered, amongst others, what company pension schemes could do to survive in the face of regulatory threats from regulators, government and the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) accountancy rules.

According to Roodbol, these regulatory factors have such widespread influence that they are “in some way your enemy, making life for you quite hard, and creating a situation for you where it’s hard to survive”.