Several Dutch pension funds have said they had received a surprisingly low number of queries from participants about their pensions prospects following declining funding ratios.
Ria van der Steen, spokeswoman for the €86bn metal sector scheme PMT, said it was even quieter than usual, and suggested that people had other priorities at the moment.
PMT, together with its €50bn sister scheme PME, had already prepared a Q&A document in order to inform worried customers that contact the pension fund by phone, said Van der Steen.
The €238bn healtcare scheme PFZW said it had received 20 questions about the COVID-19 impact on pensions. However, it expected more responses in the coming days, said Ellen Habermehl, the pension fund’s spokeswoman.
She said people are likely busy with the direct impact of the virus on daily life, and that they will start thinking about less directly visible effects later.
Other pension funds said they can’t predict whether participants will come up with more or less questions now as many of them are staying home for a longer period.
PFZW said that, in its response to participants that got in touch, it highlighted that “it was worried about the current situation on the financial markets, but that its investment policy was aimed for the long term”.
It also said that it was too early to indicate what the implications for pensions would be, as the funding situation at year-end would be the criterion for possible rights cuts in 2021.
During 2020, pension benefits nor contributions will be affected, it added.
Many websites of pension funds carry a similar message. Detailhandel, the pension fund for the retail sector, said that it is prepared for several communication scenarios. It said it wanted to act carefully and didn’t want to unnecessarily worry its participants.