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Sibylle Reichert– Head of Brussels Office- Federation of Dutch Pensions Funds
COI. Regarding your participation at the International Congreso Internacional Estado del Bienestar 2107 (International Congress Welfare State), could you please give us some ideas about the main activities are driven by the Dutch Pensions Federation Funds?
SR. On behalf of about 220 pension funds, the Federation of the Dutch Pension Funds (Pensioenfederatie) promotes the pension interests of:
- 5.3 million participants
- 3 million pensioners
- 9,1 million early leavers.
About 80% of the total number of Dutch employees is participant of a pension fund which is associated with the Pensioenfederatie. The members of the Federation have around 1300 billion euros of assets under management.
COI. What are the main challenges, changes and opportunities that public pension systems will face within in the next years?
SR. The Dutch pension system is based on three pillars. A flat rate first pillar PAYG system, a 2nd pillar based on a quasi-mandatory occupational pension system and a 3rd pillar consisting in individual insurance or bank saving products. Dutch occupational pensions are mostly managed by social partners (representatives of employees and employers). The Dutch pension funds are not public pension entities. The main challenges for the Dutch pension funds is probably the same as in other European countries:
- An ageing society.
- More and more flexible work pattern with an increasing number of self-employed that do not have access to occupational pensions.
- Low interest environment which puts a lot of pressure on the funding ratio of the pension funds.
- An increased wish for more choices with regard to occupational pensions.
- Due to the above, we are currently in a major endeavor to reform our occupational pension system trying to seek a combination between individual choice and collective risk sharing.
- Pension funds in the Netherlands have been and are very transparent on their costs. This has been a driver for change in the whole value chain. Today the Dutch pensioner has a good overview over the costs of his /her pension scheme.
- Information to members: The Dutch Pension Funds have been front runners in modernizing information to its members. Information is layered and more and more tailor made adapted to the needs of each participant.
- Sustainability: Dutch pension funds have been drivers of sustainable finance and are perfect vehicles towards changing the economy towards more sustainability, towards more investment in green energy and towards more social responsible behaviour of companies worldwide.
- How can we deliver some actions and initiatives to reduce the gap of financial deficit in the pension systems?
- European countries may have a different approach of dealing with funding gaps in public pension systems.
- The first means is to increase retirement age and to have an automatic adjustment mechanism with life expectancy.
- Another means is to introduce a balanced multi-pillar system thus decreasing the pressure on public pensions.
- In this respect the promotion of occupational pensions would be an asset not only by avoiding and reducing poverty of elderly, but also providing finance to the economy as a whole.
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