Survey by ABN AMRO MeesPierson: ‘support for existing pension system has eroded’

Press release -

Father and son

More than seven out of ten people in the Netherlands are in favour of abolishing the existing collective pension system. In a survey by ABN AMRO MeesPierson among 1,171 people aged 18 and up, 42% replied that they would prefer a system where pensions are built up individually, while 33% want a combination of collective and individual. A quarter of the people surveyed are in favour of keeping the collective pension system.

In the present situation, most employees do not have the option of choosing which pension administrator will manage their pension savings. Pension administrators include pension funds and insurance companies. The overwhelming majority of the population would prefer to select their own pension administrator in the future (75%). Given the option, almost half would choose a pension fund (47%). Banks scored 18%, making them the second most frequently listed option for pension administrators, even though the law does not currently permit banks to act as pension administrators.

Mandatory pension accrual for everyone

Pension accrual is currently not mandatory for the entire working population. Business owners (including directors/major shareholders and sole traders) are generally at liberty to decide for themselves whether or not they wish to build up a pension. More than 70% of the population believe that pension accrual should become mandatory for everyone. The most common reason given by critics of mandatory accrual is that they wish to decide for themselves how they spend their money.

Basis

Pension expert Masha Bril of ABN AMRO MeesPierson comments, ‘The survey shows that society is becoming increasingly geared toward the individual. This is highlighted by the fact that so few people still attach much importance to solidarity in the pension system. At the same time, the overwhelming majority want to make pension accrual mandatory. This seems paradoxical. However, individuals might prefer mandatory accrual as a matter of self-interest. By requiring everyone to build up a pension, you prevent a situation where individuals find themselves paying for other people’s expenses further down the road. At the same time – although at a glance the numbers seem to indicate otherwise – it is not by definition a question of everyone for themselves. Among the people we surveyed, 25% prefer a collective system, and 33% a partially collective system, for accruing pension.’

Alternatives

The survey found that 61% of the population want to be allowed to use part of their pensions to pay off their mortgages. This is not permitted in the current situation. Another option that appeals to many people is to allow temporary breaks from having to pay pension contributions if the individual’s financial situation so demands. Three quarters of the people surveyed indicated that they would like this, even if it means receiving less pension.

Click here to download the survey by ABN AMRO MeesPierson (in Dutch).

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