Why would you want to change one of the best pension systems?
It may seem illogical to one of the best pension systems in the world. However, new rules are needed, while preserving those that are good. This is because the current rules no longer match the present situation. For instance, people are living longer and no longer work for the same employer all their lives. In addition, the current rules make it difficult to increase pensions.
That is why the trade unions, employers and the government have agreed on rules more suited to the current situation. This is how we are preserving one of the best pension systems in the world.
Who do the new rules apply to?
The new rules apply to everyone, even if you have already retired. Whether your pension will be converted to a pension under the new rules depends on the agreements made by the social partners (trade unions and employers' organisations). Once the arrangements are finalised, we will let you know via the website and our newsletter.
Could my pension pot run out, or will I receive a pension for as long as I live?
You can be confident that you will continue to receive a pension for as long as you live. That has been agreed under the new rules. Together, we ensure there is always a pension for you, no matter how old you become.
I want to retire within the next 5 years. What does the transition to the new scheme mean for me?
If you retire before 2026, your pension will be calculated according to the current scheme. As soon as Bpf Koopvaardij switches to the new scheme, your pension will – in accordance with the provisional decisions of the social partners – be converted into a pension according to the new scheme ('conversion'). It therefore makes no difference whether you retire in the current scheme or in the new one. You also keep the same pension options in the new scheme.
What is the difference between the solidarity scheme and the flexible scheme?
In the new pension system, there are two types of schemes. In the solidarity scheme, we absorb windfalls and setbacks together, investments are made collectively and pensions are more stable. In the flexible scheme, you have more influence on the risks involved in investing your pension. The social partners (trade unions and employers' organisations) in the merchant navy have yet to take the final decision, but at the moment they tend to prefer a solidarity-based defined contribution scheme. Once the arrangements are finalised, we will let you know via the website and our newsletter.
I am building up pension. Will my pension increase more rapidly in the new scheme?
Because we need to keep less money available, your pension can increase more quickly when the economy is doing well. In less favourable times, it may also decrease. However, the fluctuations will be less if you are retired or nearing retirement. Moreover, we can absorb or mitigate setbacks in several ways. For example, by absorbing deficits in less favourable years with reserves from more favourable years (the 'solidarity reserve').
How can my pension be prevented from falling too quickly?
As pensions move in line with the economy, falls can never be completely avoided. The new rules do however ensure that the fluctuations become less significant when you have retired or are nearing retirement. For example, by investing with less risk as you get older. This is because young people have more time to absorb investment setbacks. We can also keep pensions stable using a buffer for setbacks: the solidarity reserve. We build this up in more favourable times so that we can absorb or mitigate a pension fall in less favourable times.
I have retired. Will I receive a different pension every month?
No, we fully understand that you do not want to be surprised by fluctuations in your income. We therefore adjust pensions no more than once a year and they remain stable for the rest of the year. Before the new scheme takes effect, we will agree with the social partners on how pensioners will be protected against fluctuations. For example, by investing less riskily for pensioners than for young people, who have more time to absorb setbacks. Or by using a buffer for setbacks: the solidarity reserve. We build this up in more favourable times so that we can absorb or mitigate a pension fall in less favourable times.
How will investments be made in the new system?
In the solidarity scheme, all pension assets are invested collectively, as they are now. There is no individual investment profile. However, we will invest by age group. This way, we ensure that young people can take more risk than those nearing retirement and pensioners. We will conduct regular member surveys to determine how much risk members and pensioners are willing to take with their pensions.
What is the situation regarding the new pension scheme?
The social partners (trade unions and employers' organisations) in the merchant navy are currently making agreements on a pension scheme that best suits our members. In doing so, all interests are carefully considered. The social partners aim to take the final decisions by the end of 2023. Once the arrangements are finalised, we will let you know via the website and our newsletter.
When will Bpf Koopvaardij implement the new rules?
Trade unions, employers and pension funds have until 1 January 2028 at the latest to switch to the new pension rules, but the switch may also take place earlier. The social partners and Bpf Koopvaardij expect the new pension rules to apply to our members with effect from 1 January 2026. As soon as we set a final effective date, we will let you know.
When will I hear what the consequences are for my pension? When will I know what I am getting?
What the new rules will mean for the amount of your pension is impossible to say for now. This does not just depend on the choices still to be made by the social partners. It also depends on the financial situation at the time of switching. So a reliable calculation per member cannot be made until we introduce the rules for pensions. You will receive a preliminary estimate just before the switch.
Who decides on the further details of the new pension scheme?
The social partners (trade unions and employers' organisations) in the merchant navy decide on a pension scheme that best suits our members. In doing so, all interests are carefully considered. They will also decide whether we convert current pension entitlements to pensions under the new rules. The social partners aim to take the final decisions by the end of 2023. Once the arrangements are finalised, we will let you know via the website and our newsletter.
Can I influence the choices that are made? How can I make my voice heard?
Employers’ organisations and trade unions make the arrangements for the new pension scheme. You can exercise influence via the union or an interest group.
- If you build up pension with Bpf Koopvaardij and want to have a say in the new scheme, we recommend considering membership in Nautilus International.
- If you receive pension via Bpf Koopvaardij, or if you previously built up pension at Bpf Koopvaardij, register with an association of pensioners or former merchant navy members and inform them of their rights to be heard. Social partners are legally obliged to submit the agreed arrangements to these associations and to request their opinion. However, conditions are attached to this right to be heard.
Can I object to the conversion of my pension to a pension in the new scheme?
No. The social partners (trade unions and employers' organisations) in the merchant navy will decide whether to convert pensions that have already been built up. You cannot object individually. This is arranged in law. You can, however, influence the choices through your union.
What arrangements do I need to make myself?
As soon as it is clear when your pension will be adjusted, you will be notified automatically. You do not need to do anything yourself. However, it is a good idea to check your contact details in My Koopvaardij.
How can I keep up to date with what is happening regarding the renewed system?
As soon as there is news of interest to you, we will share it on the website and in our newsletter. If you are not yet receiving the newsletter, register via your mail preferences in My Koopvaardij. You can also visit www.pensioenduidelijkheid.nl, a dedicated government site (in Dutch) with news and information about the new pension system.