THE NETHERLANDS - The defined benefit (DB) versus defined contribution (DC) debate continued today at the EFRP/NAPF International Conference in Brussels.
Drawing on the Dutch pensions experience, Evert Jan Henrichs, a partner with litigators De Brauw/Linklaters & Alliance, said that the much anticipated shift to DC schemes was the pendulum that never really got swinging.
According to Henrichs, the majority of Dutch corporate and mandatory industry-wide pension funds still rely heavily on the DB structure which is still regarded as safer and better for the employer.
However, any changes in trend have taken place within DB schemes themselves, with a swing towards 'mitigated' schemes, added Henrichs. In this instance the pension is taken as 70% of the employees' average salary, as opposed to the more costly system of 70% of the last income.
On a separate note Henrichs said that the Dutch Government is on the verge of presenting to its parliament a bill to render forced retirement below the age of 65 as null and void.
Collective labour agreements that provide for retirement below the age of 65 have recently come under attack. Henrichs referred to the case of a soccer referee who refused to retire at the age of 47 but had his case thrown out by the Court of Appeal.
But Henrichs remained sceptical on the Government's next move, saying that it did not really help flexibility.
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