NETHERLANDS - Insurance group Eureko is planning a shake-up at its Dutch asset manager and pensions provider Syntrus Achmea, after it lost significant market share in 2009.

Syntrus Achmea’s market share fell from 39% to 26% based on participants numbers,  and “thanks to fierce competition from asset managers set up by pension funds, international managers, banks as well as insurers”, the firm said in its annual report.

The company claimed it will put its house in order this year, after several clients moved their administration contracts to other providers.

Eureko reported a net profit of €1.4bn, including €1.1bn gained from a settlement with the Polish government about its exit from the Polish pension insurer PZU - a firm they co-owned.

Eureko said Syntrus Achmea’s  assets under management on behalf of institutional investors rose by €3bn to €58bn, “thanks to better investment results”, and said fees and commission income increased by 5% to €343m, as a result of one-off income generated by departing customers.

Pension insurer Achmea saw a 3% rise of pension contributions in the, excluding a premium growth following the merger of Eureko’s three pension funds, Stichting Pensioenfonds Interpolis (SPI) and Stichting Pensioenfonds Achmea Personeel (SPAP), into Stichting Pensioenfonds Achmea (SPA).

Eureko also reported that its new pensions and life sales in Ireland had decreased by over 30%, and claimed this was caused by the economic recession, while its market in Greece had also started to decline.

The group also has life and pensions operations in France, Romania, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Cyprus, although it has announced last February that there would be a management buyout of its activities in Cyprus.

The insurance group has also systematically divested higher risk instruments from its €39bn investment portfolio, in favour of less volatile investment products, as part of its de-risking strategy.

Its fixed income allocation has therefore increased by 2% to 78% of assets, largely at the expense of its equity holdings, which more than halved to 3%.

The divested equities and credits have been invested in high-grade fixed income securities, while the composition of the fixed income portfolio has been changed to predominantly government bonds with AAA status, Eureko said.