NETHERLANDS – Benne van Popta, co-chairman of the Dutch Association of Industry-wide Pension Funds, the VB, has said there is no crisis in the pension sector.

Speaking at the association’s 20th annual congress this week van Popta said: “We need to make clear, there is no pension sector crisis.’

All parties involved, van Popta reiterated, must focus on addressing the worries of their members and pensioners. A second issue was the need to become more transparent and open in communications with the younger generation.

Most speakers at the event agreed that current regulations and new financial assessment framework, or FTK, is constraining the overall performance of the pension funds.

Van Popta stated that there is a real need for the social partners in the wage negotiations to assess the arrangements and implement the functional issues only.

Almost all the speakers agreed that the new market value approach has resulted in extreme interest-rate risks.

Van Popta, who is the employers’ chairman at the VB, indicated that pension funds would have to balance risk management with yields.

And he added there is a growing need for the clarity over indexation.

Solidarity was a theme through the meeting. The chairman of the meeting, Joop Rietmulder, said: “Everybody is focused on solidarity, but mostly for himself.”

Peter Gortzak, secretary of FNV, the largest Dutch trade union, told the meeting: “People should still understand that pension is just delayed salary. People have a right on it, they have themselves paid for their pensions.”

He criticised the growing support in society for a more privatised pension system, which gives the individual an individual pension arrangement. As supported by most speakers, collective pension arrangements still have a higher yields on investments combined with lower overall costs.