Dutch Pension Funds in Underfunding: Solving Generational Dilemmas

Niels Kortleve Eduard Ponds

WP#2009-29

Abstract

Pension funds in the Netherlands are facing their second solvency crisis within a period of six years. As most Dutch pension funds effectively are arrangements of intergenerational risk sharing, especially the larger sector pension funds, the necessary recovery process implies various generational dilemmas. We distinguish various policy options, among them contribution rate increases and benefit cuts, and compare them on the aspect of intergenerational redistribution.  Most pension funds in the Netherlands stem from the 1950s, and the current pension plan setting still reflects standards of that period. This practice is currently at stake. The introduction of a new regulatory framework built upon fair-value accounting and risk-based solvency supervision forces pension funds to reconsider their pension plan design and funding process. We discuss a number of reform proposals that currently are in debate.