Decline in number of active members of pension funds

Statistical News Release
Date 12 September 2014

Over the past years, the number of pension fund members accruing pension entitlements has dropped further. At year-end 2013, pension funds had a total of some 5.5 million active members, representing a year-on-year decline of 146,000, according to data collected by De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: Number of active pension fund members

(millions of persons)

Active members


Active members

One of the reasons that the number of active members is sliding is the demographic trend, as the generation born from 1946 through 1950 now retire from working life, starting to receive pension benefits. More children were born in those years than before and after, which means the relatively large group of baby boomers now enter a new phase in their lives. A portion of the group previously recorded as active members are now categorised as pensioners, while another portion, approximately, 26,000 members, transferred to a life insurer or life premium pension institution.


The reclassification from active members to pensioners is also apparent from the rise in the number of pension benefits paid (see Figure 2). At year-end 2013, pension funds paid over 3.1 million benefits to pensioners. Of those benefits, 2.2 million were retirement pension benefits, representing an increase of some 80,000 on the previous year. While the number of retirement pension benefits has been on the rise for a number of years, increases have been larger over recent years, as could have been expected given demographic trends.  The number of partner's pension benefits paid edged up by 7,000, whereas occupational disability pension benefits were down, as in previous years, by 6,500.

Figure 2: Number of pension benefits paid by pension funds


Number of pension benefits paid by pension funds

Deferred beneficiaries

For the first time since 2009, deferred beneficiaries were up, by 187,000. Deferred beneficiaries, or dormant members, accrued entitlements in the past but have not reached pensionable age yet. Most of these are employees who changed jobs, while their pension entitlements were left behind for administration by the original pension fund as they changed over to a different pension administrator. The number of deferred beneficiaries stood at around 8.8 million at year-end 2013, returning to levels last seen at year-end 2010.