Average funding ratio of pension funds down in May

Statistical News Release
Date 20 June 2013

The average funding ratio of Dutch pension funds fell to 104% in May 2013. At the end of March 2013, the average funding ratio stood at 106%. The funding ratio – the ratio between available assets and liabilities – has gone down mainly as a result of a fall in the interest rate term structure.

The interest rate term structure including UFR and averaging [note 1] (table 1.3) fell between the end of March and the end of May. More specifically, 20-year interest rates including UFR and averaging were down by 11 basis points, causing an increase in the value of the liabilities, also referred to as technical reserves. However, capital market rates rose in this period, which resulted in a depreciation of the fixed-income asset portfolio. Between the end of March and the end of May, stock prices climbed. The MSCI World Index was up by 3.7% and the AEX rose by 4.4%, pushing up the value of pension funds’ equity portfolios. Yet this effect did not suffice to counterbalance the negative impact of the interest rates on the liabilities and the fixed-income asset portfolio.

At end-May 2013, 129 of the 295 pension funds investing at fund’s risk had a funding ratio below 105% and consequently faced a funding deficit. This number was up by 21 from end-March 2013. At end-May, the pension funds facing a funding deficit represented 3.8 million active members and 1.9 million pensioners.

Funding ratio of pension funds (end-of-period figures)

Note 1: As of 30 September 2012, the rate term structure for pension funds has been adjusted by introducing an ultimate forward rate (UFR) for maturities beyond 20 years. For all maturities, three-month averaging is applied.