NETHERLANDS - The scope of the EU IORP Directive should be broadened to all types of occupational pension funds, such as defined benefit (DB), defined contribution (DC) and pay-as-you-go schemes, the Dutch pension sector has argued.

Responding to the EU Green Paper on pensions, the three pension fund organisations said the directive for cross-border pensions should solely aim at institutions where risks were borne by employers and plan members.

VB, OPF and UvB said EU regulation should provide for overarching principles such as a forward-looking risk-based approach, market consistency and transparency, as well as supervision that includes prudential and behavioural aspects.

They stressed that the member states and not the European Commission must define adequacy of pension systems and that a "solid multi-pillar approach" could help to provide for adequate pensions.

Any planned EU regulation on pensions should be subject to an impact assessment while respecting the social and labour legislation of the member states, the lobbying bodies said.

They added that the specific role of the social partners of employers and employees should be "taken into account" while the national governments and the EU offer a "facilitating regulatory framework".

The representative organisations, which are now co-operating in a new Pension Federation, further argued that new EU rules should respect the subsidiary principle, as well as local regulatory frameworks on retirement provision.

In their opinion, this is important for a review of the IORP Directive, the reflections on a security regime for pensions, as well as for the further development of the international accounting standards.

VB, OPF and UvB said decisions on retirement age should also be left to member states and social partners and that automatic adjustment mechanisms needed to be introduced to balance time spent in work and in retirement.

They indicated that changes in attitude toward older workers, as well as improving life-long learning programmes, would be needed to increase deployment of older employees.

The representative bodies further advocated improving the IORP Directive through developing common definitions, facilitating cross-border activity and refraining from tightening the European regulatory framework.

They underlined that pension rights should not be transferred before minimum technical and actuarial standards had been set.

The lobbying organisations also said they did not favour an EU-wide guarantee scheme for pensions, as this might "encourage excessive risk-taking".