SPOA, the €1.5bn occupational pension fund for public pharmacists in the Netherlands, is looking to join PMA, the €2.5bn scheme for pharmacist staff, depending on the results of an ongoing survey.
BPOA, the occupational association responsible for the pharmacists’ scheme, said it signed a declaration of intent with independent pharmacist industry group VZA and the association of employed general practitioners (LAD) to investigate whether all public pharmacists could join PMA.
It said the mandatory accrual of employed and independent pharmacists’ pension rights was needed to secure “lasting mandatory, collective and affordable” pension arrangements.
BPOA said the stakeholders aimed to increase efficiency, improve quality and cut costs through the benefits of scale, adding that employers would also benefit from a single pensions window, as well as from uniform labour conditions for all workers.
In the Netherlands, the number of employed pharmacists now exceeds that of independent pharmacists.
BPOA warned that this could jeopardise mandatory participation in the occupational pension plan and argued that, if all public pharmacists accrued their pensions through a single industry-wide scheme, mandatory participation could be preserved.
The stakeholders said they were also examining the effects of transferring existing pension rights to PMA.
According to BPOA, the gaps between the pension arrangements and funding ratios at SPOA and PMA have narrowed this year.
SPOA’s official policy funding stood at 104.3%, as of the end of June.
The pharmacists’ scheme, however, has had to apply four successive rights cuts of 5%, 7%, 6.8% and 4.6% since 2011.
PMA’s policy coverage was 105.8% at the end of the second quarter.