NETHERLANDS - Dutch social affairs minister Piet Hein Donner has asked Elco Brinkman, exiting chairman of the giant Dutch teachers and civil servants pension fund ABP, to mediate in the Optas case.

The minister has asked Brinkman (pictured, right) "to examine if there is sufficient common ground to reach an agreement via mediation between the parties," according to an announcement on the ministry's website this morning.

The pension fund for harbour workers BPVH is still disputing the ownership of the €1.3bn proceeds of the sale of insurer Optas Group to Aegon, after it was discovered proceeds of the sale of the company and associated pension fund were being used as an art subsidy rather than for pensions.

These assets are now in the hands of the Optas Foundation, which claims the social partners of BPVH never took up a seat on the board of the new company, nor became shareholders, when the pension fund was transformed into insurer Optas Pensioenen 10 years ago.

In March, Donner announced the transition of a pension fund foundation into another entity would become subject to approval of the pensions regulator DNB and new rules will be written to change the Pensions Act.

Brinkman - who is also chairman of Bouwend Nederland - the Dutch organisation for construction and infrastructure companies, recently announced ast week announced he would step down as chairman of the fund within a year, following his appointment as chairman supervisory board of the recently-launched investment manager APG - a wholly-owned division of ABP created to manage the assets and administration of the ABP pension fund.

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