nr 063 - Defined Benefit Pension Plans and Regulation

DNB Working Papers
Date 8 December 2005

In this paper, it is investigated to what extent optimal investment policy by Dutch pension funds is affected by changes in regulation. It turns out that a complete market valuation method increases the cost of the defined benefit pension relative to a fixed discount rate method, as high pension premiums are to be payed exactly when expected future returns are the lowest. In practice, this timing problem does not seem to be severe for Dutch pension funds as solvency requirements are only applied to guaranteed pension rights, whereas a major part of pension benefits (indexation) is conditional. Moreover, a fixed interest rate may still be used to calculate pension premiums. Regarding the asset mix, the optimal duration of bonds in portfolio seems higher than currently observed, both under market valuation and under a fixed discount rate method. The new regulatory rules only slightly reduce the attractiveness of equity investment. Keywords: pension valuation, equity investment, optimal duration. J.E.L. Code: C15, G11, G23, G28