NETHERLANDS - Dutch pension funds have dismissed proposals designed to encourage them to finance infrastructure projects.
Three political parties – liberals, Christian Democrats and Liberal Democrats – last week jointly proposed the lower house urge ‘external parties’, including pension funds, to provide the capital for roads and public transport.
The response was at best sceptical from the pensions industry.
VB, the country’s association of pension funds, said it had no position – but also, it indicated, no interest – in the proposal.
Bram van Els, a spokesman for the €21bn PME metalworkers fund, was less guarded as he said: "Solving the government’s financial problems isn’t our job," he told IPE Real Estate.
"Our role is to generate a return for our investors, not raise funds for the government."
More broadly, the fund has ruled out infrastructure investment until the concept indicates more attractive pricing.
"We’re always interested in investments that give a good return with low risk but that doesn’t include infrastructure at the moment," said van Els.
"We’d have to have a fair price and good revenues but we don’t see how roads will generate revenues. It wouldn’t be up to us, as investors, to generate revenues. [Infrastructure revenues] would be up to the government because the government would decide the pricing.
"In any case, Dutch governments have been talking about tolls for 20 years and it’s still undecided. You need to have some idea of what investing will bring you – and we don’t. It’s all too vague," he added.