NETHERLANDS - Civil service pension fund ABP has increased its stake in its subsidiary company Loyalis from 20% to 100%, it has announced.

According to the €191bn scheme, this extension is in line with the option offered by the VPL Act on vut, prepension and ‘levensloop’ of acquiring a 100% stake in an insurer which offers the tax-friendly levensloop, or life course.

ABP has had its 20% stake in Loyalis since 2003. The remaining 80% it has acquired now, has been owned by the employers’ and employees’ organisations within government and education.

Loyalis offers civil servants and teachers ‘levensloop’ and additional products and services. In 2005, its revenue was €720m.

Meanwhile, Social Affairs’ minister Aart Jan de Geus has said he isn’t considering additional measures because of a low uptake of the new levensloop so far.

“Any new voluntary scheme needs an introductory period, and this also applies to the levensloop. The promotion campaign is still running. Not earlier than the end of this year, we can draw conclusions,” he said, responding to parliamentary questions.

Labour MP Jet Bussemakers had confronted de Geus with a TNS NIPO survey, which concluded that the new tax-friendly scheme doesn’t appeal to the public.

At the same time, insurers have refused on a large scale to transfer balances of the (formerly tax-friendly) prepension schemes to the levensloop, apparently in order to protect their long-term investments, the daily Het Financieele Dagblad reported.

According to adviser Ruud Junge of global management consultancy the Hay Group, a range of insurers show unwillingness. “Their philosophy is that it’s their money, and they flatly won’t cooperate, unless in case of a levensloop pension.”

Controller Steven Bron of Hay Group thinks the insurers want to protect their financial security. “If prepension money is being transferred to a levensloop account, it can be taken out much earlier. The long-term investments of the companies will be hampered,” the daily quoted him as saying from own experience.

“The insurers have the right to refuse. Both parties must agree on the transfer of prepension money,” Poul Gelderloos, fiscal specialist at Aon Consulting added.

Spokesman Henny Zoontjes of the Association of Insurers, or VvV, denies an organised industry-wide blockage. “We haven’t received any signal from consultants, and neither have the unions and employers’ organisations,” he said

“The only reason for a refusal could be a duty of care to the customer, as insurer Achmea indicated. The prepension money has been invested for the long term. In case of a transfer to levensloop, substantial costs will be deducted from the balance,” Zoontjes explained.

“Workers who insist on a transfer can do so. Especially since the insurers offer levensloop products as well.”