Unfortunately, the financial situation of Pensioenfonds PGB further deteriorated strongly in August. This is reflected in the pension fund's coverage ratios published today.
That the financial situation has further deteriorated, is not due to the return or to the volume of our pension assets. The capital increased also in August, and now amounts to well over 29 billion euro. The return in 2019 up to and including August was in excess of 14%.
And yet the pension fund is in a worse position than at the beginning of this year. The reason being the drops in interest rates in the past few months. Especially the sharp decline in interest rates in August had serious, negative consequences for the pension fund’s coverage ratio. As a result, the current UFR coverage ratio dropped by almost 6 percentage points in just one month.
Increased risk of pension cuts
The risk of Pensioenfonds PGB, as well as other pension funds, having to reduce the pensions has increased as a result. We consider it important to warn our (retired) participants for this. Our chairman Ruud Degenhardt:
“Until August, we assumed that the chances of having to reduce the pensions at our pension fund next year would be small. As a result of the extremely low interest rates, we have now had to adjust our expectations. If the coverage ratio falls even further, we will unfortunately have to consider a reduction in pensions in 2020. Such a reduction is a last resort, which we only apply if there is no other option. We are doing our utmost to prevent this situation from arising. However, we cannot guarantee that we will succeed in this. We will probably not know until after 31 December 2019 whether the risk has passed."
Minister Koolmees will examine the possible adjustment of rules
It is possible that politicians will still take measures to prevent possible pension cuts. Social Affairs Minister Wouter Koolmees will be looking into this, he promised to the Lower House last week.
The current UFR coverage ratio was 95.8% as at 31 August 2019, which was almost 6 percentage points lower than as at 31 July 2019.
The policy coverage ratio, which is an average over 12 months, was 105.2% as at 31 August 2019. As at 31 July 2019, it was: 106.4%.
You can find an explanation of the coverage ratios here. There you can also read more about the coverage ratios in the past year.