Verloskundigen, the €359m Dutch occupational pension fund for midwives, is to cut pension payments for the third consecutive year after reporting a funding ratio of 88.4%.In its recovery plan, the scheme said it was anticipating a reduction of 0.75% at year-end, following cuts of 0.4% and 1.4% in 2016 and 2017, respectively.However, speaking to IPE’s sister publication Pensioen Pro, the scheme’s chair Marlies Bartels put the measure into perspective by explaining that the scheme would discount the cut against its unconditional indexation of 2%.As a result, pension rights would rise by 1.25% on balance, she said. “Despite the rights discounts, we are performing above average in terms of retaining purchasing power,” said Bartels.The net indexation granted by the pension fund has exceeded price inflation during the past five years.In the opinion of Bartels, the scheme’s funding level – which is well below that typically required by schemes to allow inflation-linked payments – should be considered in the context of its fixed 2% indexation.“Without this, our coverage would have stood between 130% and 140%,” she said.In order to speed up recovery to the required minimum funding of approximately 105%, Verloskundigen has decided to reduce annual pensions accrual by 30%.The €327m pension fund for the accountancy sector is the only other scheme in the Netherlands that is known to have applied a cut to payments this year.It said a 30% cut was necessary as part of the transfer of its pension rights to Stap, the general pension fund (APF) established by insurer Aegon and its subsidiary TKP Pensioen.The minimum entry level for the multi-client compartment of the APF equated to a funding of 105%. The coverage ratio of the accountancy scheme stood at 91.7%.
Press Association Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has admitted his hopes of signing Loic Remy permanently are receding with every goal he scores. Asked if every additional strike takes the frontman further from his grasp, Pardew said: “I think that’s fairly obvious. “He is going to be hot property. He is going to get a lot of press tomorrow and I am going to leave him out of the next 11 (games).” Remy’s last-gasp intervention came in the nick of time as he smashed home from close range in the second minute of added time at the end of the game after substitute Luuk de Jong’s cross had been deflected into his path. That would have come as a huge relief to him as well as well as his manager after he had hit the post with the goal at his mercy two minutes earlier. Team-mate Papiss Cisse too will have been mightily pleased to see the ball end up in the back of the net after a dreadful miss at the end of the first half. Pardew, who had gone into the game with the club having denied his reign could be over if he lost it, believed the game turned on a vital interception by central defender Mike Williamson as he cut out Christian Benteke’s through-ball to spark the home crowd into life. He said: “It was a strange game because our crowd was definitely quiet up until the interception from Williamson, and a strange thing like that lifted the stadium, lifted the players and suddenly we created three or four great chances. “That’s what this place is, it’s almost like a breathing, living animal, this stadium, and we needed it to come alive. It did and it helped us. The France international returned from suspension to fire the Magpies to a vital 1-0 Barclays Premier League victory over Aston Villa on Sunday, although he left it late to do so. Remy’s 12th goal of the season came in the 92nd minute at St James’ Park and served as a timely reminder of the loan signing’s potency, with other potential suitors also casting eyes over him. “As a football manager, you are on 40 points – I think we have had a decent season. But the recent run put pressure on myself and the team, and my staff as well. “I don’t feel comfortable when my staff are under pressure. You can be very resilient as a manager, but I was uncomfortable for my staff this week. “I was desperate to get them a result, and it was for them that I really wanted to get a win, and obviously our fans, who have had to be very, very patient at home.” It was Newcastle’s first win in five attempts and their first on home soil since Boxing Day, with their previous five fixtures on Tyneside having all ended in defeat. For Villa boss Paul Lambert, it was a case of what might have been as his side enjoyed a purple patch in the first half but failed to make the pressure tell. Lambert said: “I thought we deserved at least a point out of it, especially after the first-half showing. “I thought we were excellent in that first half. In the second half, Newcastle came at us strongly, but I don’t think either team probably deserved to win the game. “It’s really disappointing and frustrating because I don’t think we deserved to lose the game. But with 30 seconds to go, you have got to play the ball long. “You can’t take a chance in that situation and we got punished.”