Last year we expected a soon implementation of the “Algemeen Pensioen Fonds” (‘APF’, ‘General pension Fund’), the new pension vehicle (pension provider) for the Dutch market. Due to several delays, the APF is still not in operative setting. Also the delayed implementation date of 1st January will not be met. The parties who are eager to start an APF still have to be patient for a while: also the term to file for authorization with the supervisor De Nederlandsche Bank will – as we have heard – take a substantial amount of time. Fortunately the VVD (Liberal Party) proposed to introduce retroactive authorization, which would create a novelty for introduction of new pension providers.
Does your company have a DC pension plan? In that case there is work to be done! At the moment there are two legal bills pending that provide an option for participants to choose for a variable annuity. The Government first hesitated to introduce this option, which does provide in a great need due to the low interest rates. This was the reason for the VVD to initiate a similar, but a little different, bill. Both bills provide in the possibility to choose for a variable annuity, in stead of a steady and equal one (the latter is what the current legislation requires), that will be disappointing. What does this possibility mean for the pension plan of your employees? How do you have to deal with this legislation as a pension provider? Do you have a vision on the way the new possibilities can work out for your organisation? Which variations are thinkable? Under which conditions can these variations be used? How do you inform your participants about the options? How will existing contracts be influenced? It is sensible to investigate these questions in an early stage. We are more that happy to assist you formulating the answers to these questions. Early 2016 we will organise a special meeting in which we will extensively discuss this topic.
In order to be able to work longer (and to facilitate this by employers), the “Wet doorwerken na AOW-gerechtigde leeftijd” has been designed. This act facilitates continuing working after the pensionable age in the Old Age Act, further to be called ‘AOW pensionable age’. This act will be effective as from 1-1-2016. What are the most important consequences of working after the AOW pensionable age? If you would ask this question ‘randomly’, there is a big chance people assume that working after the AOW pensionable age will also include an automatic further accrual of pension. This could even be a trigger to continue working after the AOW pensionable age. But we are afraid that this trigger is false: automatic continuation of pension accrual is not the case. Almost all pension scheme rules know an automatic termination of pension accrual at the AOW pensionable age. However, we do face a very essential question here: what will happen with your (accrual of) pensions if you choose to continue working? Which obstacles will you meet? Is there a possibility to continue working after the AOW pensionable age and postponing the pensionable age? Some pension plan rules provide for this, but other pension plan rules do not. Please, check your pension plan rules on these items! But perhaps the most important question is: do your employees realise this? We doubt it. Did your company already decide on the policy regarding working after the pensionable age? And what consequences are there for your pension plans? Also for these important questions we will organise a special meeting in the beginning of 2016.
And as if this is not enough, there are more changes waiting for us. There is the “Wetsvoorstel aanpassing instemmingsrecht ondernemingsraad” (Act regarding the adjustment of the right to consent for works councils regarding pensions), the regulation regarding the extra financing for employers in case of individual pension transfers (and the long expected change of the system of pension transfers) and fase 2 of the “Wet pensioencommunicatie” (Act on pension communication) that will be in force as from 1-1-2016 in which we meet the new starting letter (‘the pension 1-2-3’) and the adjusted UPO. Amongst all of these developments we also have the discussion regarding the headlines of the future of the Dutch pension system.
Please, monitor our website for the latest news and for the exact dates of the knowledge session(s).
On behalf of the entire team of Bergamin Pensions Law, I wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy new year!