Sharp fall in savings through company schemes

According to figures from Statistics Netherlands, employees who save via company savings plans deposited 1.3 billion euro in these schemes in 2003. This is much less than in previous years, when total deposits fluctuated around 2.2 billion euro. The decrease was caused by a change in the 1994 law on company savings schemes. A total amount of 5.6 billion euro became available from company savings schemes in 2003, and was deposited into many private savings accounts by households.

Just over 1.4 billion euro in salary savings accounts

The 1994 law on company savings schemes was amended on 1 January 2003. As a result total deposits into salary savings schemes fell by nearly 1 billion euro to 1.3 billion euro. Since the amendment, employees can only save money via their salary and no longer via bonus saving schemes and profit sharing. Moreover, the maximum amount that may be saved via the salary saving scheme was lowered from 788 to 613 euro per employee per year.

More money released as a result of amendment

A total amount of 5.6 billion euro became available in 2003. Just over 1.3 billion euro of this was released after the regular blocked period of 4 years had elapsed. The other 4.3 billion euro was released as a result of the amendment of the law. In 2003, money deposited in 1999 and 2000 was released. For bonus savings schemes, this was money put into the savings accounts in 1999 to 2001.

Saving still popular

The large released amounts from company savings schemes was mostly transferred to ordinary savings accounts. The amendment to the 1994 law on company saving schemes had hardly any effect on Dutch households’ zest for saving. Households deposited a net 1 billion euro a month in savings accounts in 2003, 31 percent more than in 2002. This eagerness to save continued in the first four months of 2004: in this period 6 billion euro was added to the savings accounts, 0.5 billion euro more than in the same period in 2003.

Nearly one quarter of savings in Internet savings accounts

Households widely used new forms of saving such as Internet savings accounts, and accounts for which deposits and withdrawals are done by telephone. A total of 43 billion euro was in Internet savings accounts in 2003, 23 percent of the total savings balance. Net savings via telephone deposits and withdrawals accounted for 13 percent of the total savings balance.

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