Real pension rights as a control mechanism for pension fund solvency

This paper models policy responses to changes in solvency by Dutchoccupational pension funds using a unique panel dataset containing thebalance sheets of all registered pension funds in the Netherlands over a period of 15 years (1993–2007). The model describes how nominal pension rights are expanded, by e.g. indexation or backservice, or, on the contrary, how the current pension accumulation is skimmed, e.g. by setting the pension premiumover its actuarially fair price to build buffers. Policy responses are explained by the funding ratio and other pension fund characteristics such as pension funds´ size and type, and participants’ ages. We find that pension rights are expandedin line with the funding ratio, but that the pension funds’ response function exhibits two sharp and significant behavioural breaks, close to the minimum funding ratio of 105% and the target ratio of around 125%. These levels also play a pivotal role in current supervisory regulation. We further find that large pension funds and grey funds are relatively generous to participants.

Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is a thinktank and knowledge network. Netspar is dedicated to promoting a wider understanding of the economic and social implications of pensions, aging and retirement in the Netherlands and Europe.

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