For millions of Dutch, a reduction in pensions is approaching. Large pension funds warn against this in their quarterly reports. Time is running out particularly for the PME and PMT metal funds. The chance seems small that they will get their financial position in order on time.
To avoid shortening, the so-called policy funding ratio must be at the required level of more than 104%. But for PME and PMT, this indicator, which indicates to what extent they can meet their obligations, fell in the last quarter to just under 101 and less than 102%, respectively.
"The threat of lowering pensions has never been greater," says Peter Borgdorff, director of the PFZW health fund. For him, the indicator is now less than 101%, but the PFZW, like the civil service fund ABP, has until the end of 2020 to get things in order. This is one year longer than PME and PMT.
The culprit is mainly the interest rate that fell again, and is expected to remain low for a while. "This is not good news because we have to keep more cash in order to meet our pension obligations," explains ABP President Corien Wortmann-Kool. The fund's policy funding ratio is now at more than 102%.
The situation is extra acidic because things are going well in the stock markets lately. "We are achieving good returns and now, with more than 50 billion euros, we have more capital than ever before," says PME director Eric Uijen.
The pension sector is hopeful that a major reform of the pension system can prevent the reductions. If this is realistic, the question remains. Consultation of the Hague pension between unions, employers and the government collapsed last year.
In addition, De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) has recently emphasized that the financial situation of the funds and the necessary reforms are in fact independent of one another.
Of the large funds, only BpfBOUW has been doing very well for some time. The indicator here is 117.5%. Earlier this year, a pension increase was implemented in the fund for the construction industry for the second consecutive year.