Companies and workers in the Dutch hairdressing industry have called on the regulator to relax pension-liability discounting rules for pension funds with relatively young participants.In a letter to Parliament, social partners for Kappers, the hairdressers’ pension fund, claimed the lowering of the ultimate forward rate (UFR) last summer had a disproportionate effect on so-called “green schemes”. They said the reduction of the UFR from 4.2% to 3.3% caused Kappers’s coverage ratio to fall by 7.6 percentage points.By comparison, funding at other Dutch schemes fell by just 3 percentage points on average, they said. They added that they expected this difference to increase to 12% by the year 2025.Willem Kruithof of union CNV Vakmensen said: “We should be allowed to apply a fixed UFR or a fixed discount rate.”Kruithof argued that pension funds with younger populations would have more time than older schemes to recover from economic “headwinds”.“The supervisor and politicians base their policy too much on averages – the impact on specific categories can be very different,” he said.“It is impossible to explain to participants, aged between 18 and 31, that their contribution is to increase while their pension rights will fall – following a postponed indexation, for example.”Katinka Boekhorst, policy adviser at employer organisation ANKO, agreed that young pension funds were disproportionally affected.René Lahoye, employers chairman at Kappers, said the current rules would hit pensioners in particular, “as they are facing a long period without inflation compensation”.He added: “It would be reasonable to offer this group the chance to receive indexation through a slightly higher discount rate.”As of the end of October, the pension fund’s coverage ratio stood at 97.4%.The scheme, however, has ruled out a rights cut in 2016, following the rules of the new financial assessment framework (nFTK). In 2013 and 2014, it had to apply rights discounts of 7% and 2.8%, respectively, to improve its financial position.
JOHN Coates, vice-president of the IOC, acknowledged that swathes of empty seats at a number of venues have been a source of frustration for the body.It has been in stark contrast to London 2012 where many events were sold out well in advance of the Games.“This has been the most difficult games we have ever encountered,” Coates said.“I wish there were bigger crowds.”Organisers claim that about 84% if tickets have been sold, but many of the arenas have appeared sparsely populated.“We did understand that they were distributing tickets to poorer folk and school kids, but we are still not seeing them at any of the venues,” Coates said.“That’s a disappointment, but the quality of the sport is certainly rising to the occasion.”Australian Coates says there are “no regrets” about hosting the Olympics in Rio because “it is important to spread the Games” although it has been a “greater challenge” than the IOC anticipated.New Zealand’s Sonny Bill Williams was injured in his side’s defeat to Japan in the rugby sevens and the ambulance which took him to hospital became lost en route.Coates accepted that are still some problems, particularly with transportation, to be solved to ensure the remainder off the Olympics goes smoothly.“We had a bad problem with Sonny Bill Williams – the ambulance driver didn’t know where the hospital was,” he added.“That wasn’t a concussion, but those are the things they are dealing with every day.” (BBC Sport)