NETHERLANDS - The €130m pension fund for the cigar industry has renewed its contract with pensions provider Syntrus Achmea and also signed up for fiduciary services.

The agreement between Achmea and the Vereniging Nederlands Pensioenfonds voor de Sigarenindustrie en aanverwante bedrijven applies to the management of the assets of VNPS, including its €18m property investments, as well as pension administration, Syntrus Achmea said in a statement.

"VNPS has also signed up Syntrus Achmea as its fiduciary pension manager, with advisory tasks on its investment portfolio, managers selection and risk management," it continued.

"Syntrus Achmea will also support our search for co-operation with other pension funds," added Marcel Crijnen, chairman of VNPS.

"Although we only have 800 active participants, like all other small pension funds, we need to carry out the same amount of work as a large scheme," he explained.

VNPS' cover ratio of VNPS was 124% at the end of 2009, however this has yet to be be adjusted for increased longevity.

Syntrus Achmea's announcement of the contract renewal comes after it revealed earlier this week that it suffered a loss of market share on pension administration from 39% to 26% in 2008.

In its annual report, insurance group Eureko said Syntrus Achmea will "put its house in order" this year after several clients moved their administration to other providers.

"Because our price-quality ratio, in particular, was not sufficient in 2008, we lost some large customers, including large metal scheme PME, which departed to Mn Services," said Erik van der Struijs, Syntrus Achmea's spokesman.

"However, we stopped the outflow last year through an extensive improvement process."

"Meanwhile, several clients have already extended their contracts," according to Van der Struijs, who noted the improvement process will continue for several years.

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