NETHERLANDS - The €1bn pension fund for pharmacies' staff (PMA) has granted all its participants an indexation of 2% for 2009.

It was not able to compensate for inflation in conformity with last year's salary index, of 4.75%, as the scheme is facing a shortfall of the required financial reserves, officials said.

That said, any additional payment to make up for the indexation gap will be considered in December, they added.

The cover ratio of the Stichting Pensioenfonds Medewerkers Apotheken - no less than 208% at the end of 2007 - had dropped to approximately 116% by the end of last year, scheme officials have indicated, even though its financial buffers require a funding ratio of 131%.

Despite developments, PMA's board has left the contributions unchanged at 28.8% for staff born before 1950 and 24.6% for younger workers.

The franchise - the part of the salary that is excluded from the build up of a pension - was maintained at €13,571 and €11,562 respectively.

PMA has granted an indexation of 1.25%, 1.75% and 1% respectively over the last three years.

The pension fund for pharmacies' staff, which has 22,000 participants and is adopted by 1,900 affiliated pharmacies, returned 2.4% on investments in 2007.

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