NETHERLANDS - Dutch corporate pension fund association OPF will undertake a feasibility study this year to assess the viability of setting up a national pension fund for company schemes.
OPF chairman Loek Sibbing, also MD of the Unilever pension fund, told Global Pensions the fund would assist small companies who found their business did not fit into an industry-wide scheme.
“Smaller [company] pension funds are finding it difficult to keep going on and we would like to help them find an alternative, on a non-commercial basis,” he said.
“There are companies that can not find any industry pension fund, and they are really on their own.”
Sibbing mooted the possibility yesterday while speaking at a conference on the future of company pension funds.
He told Global Pensions the set up process was at a “very preliminary stage”, and that it was too early to say when this process would be completed, and too early to predict how the fund might be managed and administrated.
“We will be looking into the market demands and legal feasibility,” he continued. “The idea is quite realistic but we have to look for the right legal construction to put it in.”
However, it is likely the fund would have one governing board and that all connected funds would pay the same premium.
“The idea is that it would be a simple system which would efficiently represent the interests of all its pension schemes,” he said.
Sibbing confirmed the idea had already attracted much interest in the Netherlands, where he said the number of company pension schemes has fallen from 800 in 1999 to 550, by latest estimates.
According to Sibbing, the number has fallen rapidly mainly because many pension funds had been liquidated on account of their small size.
“You used to have pension funds in the Netherlands with only one or two members, and that is not realistic any more,” he said.
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