BELGIUM – Dutch bank ABN Amro has set up a pensions subsidiary in Belgium, with a view to grabbing a 5% share of a market it says will grow by almost 14% in the coming years.

The new subsidiary, ABN Amro Life Capital, is based in Antwerp and aims to sell “flexible group and individual insurance plans, with policyholders being able to design a supplementary pension according to their own wishes”. It will focus on successful companies whose employees are interested in building up a supplementary pension, it says.

A spokesman for ABN Amro said the bank is targeting a 5% market share in six years, though he was unable to specify revenue numbers. “We’ve found a very interesting niche in the Belgian market,” he said

ABN Amro said the move is in response to the expected 13.8% growth in the Belgian pension market, compared to the European average of 8.9%. It says research reveals higher awareness among Belgian employees of the need to build retirement wealth. “In fact, companies recruiting new staff are increasingly finding that a good pension plan is perceived to be an important element of the reward package.”

The 10-strong unit will be headed by general manager René Vanrijkel, who said: "We offer companies and employees a total pension solution, where all collective and individual pension provisions can be brought together in a single contract.

“This means that every employee has up-to-date insight into his or her overall accrued pension rights and can view this information at any time via the Internet. What's more, employees can realise all their personal wishes within the collective framework, precisely according to their own life cycle and investment profile.”

The launch of the new subsidiary comes as the Belgian parliament is discussing new legislation aimed at promoting a greater take-up of occupational pensions.