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ABP to study structure change

NETHERLANDS - The board of Europe's largest pension fund is looking at ways to stave off regulatory pressure on its additional insurance products.

ABP, the €209bn scheme for civil servants says any new structure must allow it to actively inform its participants of individual products, such as the new tax-friendly ‘levensloop', or life course.

At the moment, the levensloop is carried out by ABP's subsidiary company Loyalis.

The present legislation doesn't allow ABP to promote the levensloop scheme in any way. Last year, the scheme was fined by pensions watchdog De Nederlandsche Bank for overstepping the mark.

"However, our participants want and need an integral overview in order to make a balanced judgement on their income position," ABP explained.

At the moment, ABP is among the few remaining ‘self-administrating' pension funds, that combine policy-making and administrative activities. "The study will focus on a split between the governance and the provision of the scheme," ABP spokesman Hans ten Brinke commented to IPE.

"The Dutch collective system with its solidarity is very important to us because it offers the best pension for an attractive price, and it makes society ageing-proof," ABP stressed.

The scheme said it expects to make a final decision during the summer, after balancing the alternatives, and consultation with employers' and participants' council as well as the works council.

At the end of last year, the €81bn healthcare and social workers' scheme PGGM announced the separation of its asset management and administration activities for similar reasons.

PGGM plans to split its present organisation into a body responsible for the assets and  pension scheme, while another organisation runs administration and asset management..

The representatives of employers and workers are considering setting up a separate co-operative entity for the administration, it added.

"Our motives and directions for the new organisation are roughly similar to PGGM's but we are not sure whether we will establish a co-operative," Ten Brinke said. "We will choose a set-up that will fit ABP specifically."

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