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Proposed transfer of ABP pensioners to PFZW postponed again

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The planned transfer of 158,000 academic hospital workers’ pensions from Dutch civil service scheme ABP to healthcare pension fund PFZW has been postponed again.

In a statement, both pension funds said the parties involved failed to meet all necessary conditions in time and therefore could not make a sound decision about the move, scheduled to take effect on 1 January 2015.

Negotiations on the transfer – meant to make it easier for academic hospital workers to work at non-academic hospitals – have been ongoing for nearly 10 years.

Last summer, ABP announced that the employers and workers had agreed that pensions accrual would be transferred to PFZW as of 1 January, while the accrued pension rights would be taken over by PFZW one year later.

Both ABP and PFZW declined to provide additional information about the cause of the new delay.

PFZW, however, indicated that it was disappointed.

“We have worked hard to resolve the issue,” a spokeswoman said.

A spokeswoman for the NFU, the industry body for the employers of the eight academic hospitals, attributed the latest delay to the ongoing legal changes on pensions.

“Subjects that seemed to be simple became complicated as a result,” she said.

She underlined that both employers and unions still support a transfer, “if it can be concluded in a sound way”.

Elise Merlijn, negotiator for civil service union AbvaKabo, said the biggest stumbling block was the threat of a salary reduction for the workers, as the NFU was supposed to pay ABP a €500m compensation for the participants leaving ABP.

She added that supervisor De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) was reluctant to approve the transfer because of the costs that would be incurred by the NFU, as well as by the participants of PFZW, which has a higher funding than ABP.

All parties involved have said they are committed to investigating whether the transfer would be possible at a later stage.

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