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The new pension system: what is the current state of affairs

Hello, my name is Peter. I am participant in the pension scheme of Pensioenfonds PGB. I like to stay informed about my pension because it concerns my income for later. With the introduction of the new pension system, my pension will also change. Therefore, I want to know what that means for me. In this article, I will be looking for an update on the new pension, and its current status.

The draft bill published at the end of 2020 states the details of the new pensions. Everyone was allowed to respond to the draft bill. Pensioenfonds PGB has done this, too. In this article you can read more about this.

What does the draft bill contain?
In my article ‘The new pension: does it affect me too?’, I give a more detailed account of the current issues. I will list them here as well:

- New pension contracts: pension assets instead of pension entitlements
- A new way of accruing pensions
- Improving the dependant's pension and making it easier to understand its details
- 10% freely available pension
- Early retirement without loss of pension
- The schemes for self-employed persons will be looked into

Draft bill addresses the present shortcomings
I understand from Siert Vos, Strategic Advice Manager at our pension provider PGB Pensioendiensten, that the pension fund has also responded to the draft bill. He said: 
‘Roughly speaking, we see the direction of the draft bill as a desirable improvement to the pension system. It meets a number of current shortcomings. We do see some points of attention however, and we have shared these with the government. In preparation of our response, and also because we like to share knowledge, we have had many consultations with other parties involved. These confirmed our own insights and sometimes led to new insights. As a pension sector, it is good to work together. In the end, we will all have to adapt our pension schemes.’ 

Key element in our response: take account of parties who differ from the standard
Pensioenfonds PGB’s reaction consists of a number of points of attention that go quite deep into the subject matter. Too deep for me as a ‘layman’ in the pension field. Fortunately, Siert can explain the main points to me:

‘We have expressed the uncertainties in our specific situation. This is because we are a sectoral pension fund that administers schemes for several sectors. We have to deal with various employment conditions tables where a pension scheme is established. And so we administer several schemes. The draft bill was written based on the ‘standard situation’ of one fund, one scheme, one employment conditions table. The key element in our response therefore has to do with this: how should we deal with a number of provisions in our deviant situation? Of course, we immediately put forward solutions to these issues. 

Two other important points from our response are:
- Offer more room for a balanced consideration of interests.
  In pensions we are dealing with many interested parties. All these interests must be properly represented. We      see that in the draft bill there is only one criterion for balancing all these interests. We would like to see that
  fund boards are given more room to take all interests and considerations into account.

- Provide clarity for employers who have placed the accrual of pension with several pension providers.
  It regularly happens that new accruals and existing accruals are placed with different pension providers. We also
  see this at Pensioenfonds PGB. This has not been addressed in the draft bill.’

It is now up to the government
The responses from the sector have now all been submitted to the government. The Pension Federation (the umbrella organisation representing all Dutch pension funds) has also submitted a response. Siert says that Pensioenfonds PGB supports this response and has also contributed to it. It is now up to the government to process all the responses into a final bill. 

The Lower House elections are also approaching. If the Lower House decides that this subject will be for a new cabinet to decide, this will affect the date on which the new pension system will enter into force. Meanwhile, Pensioenfonds PGB is not sitting idle. A roadmap is being drawn up and talks are being held with employers and employees about the wishes for the new schemes and their implementation and execution.