NETHERLANDS – PGGM, the 49 billion euro pension fund for the Dutch healthcare and social work sector, has issued a statement denying claims in a Dutch newspaper that it is in deficit.

Dutch daily Het Financieele Dagblad printed incorrect coverage ratios for PGGM’s pension fund which imply a shortfall, the Dutch scheme said in a statement.

“According to the Het Financieele Dagblad the coverage_ratio of PGGM would have been 90% at the end of 2002 and 104% at the end of 2001. In fact the coverage ratio of PGGM is 106% at the end of 2002, and came from 124% at the end of 2001,” says the statement.

The issue of underfunding of Dutch pension schemes has moved higher up the agenda recently. At the end of 1999, the average Dutch fund had a coverage level of 150%, a level that fell to 125% by the end of 2001, and one that now hovers marginally above 100%. In response, Pensioen & Verzekeringskamer, the Dutch pension fund supervisor, has given those schemes with coverage ratios below 100% one year to rectify the situation.

In addition, PVK has issued guidelines to the Netherlands’ 1,000 pension funds, asking them to ensure a funding level of 105%. The correction of PGGM’s coverage ratio ensures that all PVK’s requirements are met.