POLAND – Dutch insurer Aegon has stated that it wants to be “one of the leading players” in the Polish pension fund industry. This follows its acquisition of Polish life insurance company Nationwide TunZ in June.

Investment in the pension fund sector is seen as a natural extension of Aegon’s growth strategy in central and eastern Europe.

“As we said when we entered the Polish market in June this year, the pension fund business is of special interest to us,” said Aegon spokesperson Arie Bos.

“Pensions is a core global expertise of Aegon and where possible we are interested in developing pensions activities.”

Aegon is primarily interested in the second pillar or mandatory pensions area which will provide better client service via improved pension products complimenting its life insurance offering, said Bos.

“We will continue to review opportunities in this area,” he added.

Aegon has no specific market acquisition target yet, Bos said, adding: “Our longer-term aim would be to be one of the leading players in the market.”

However, the Warsaw Business Journal has reported that Aegon wants a minimum 5% share of the market.

This “means the takeover of two or three small open pension funds,” Nationwide TunZ president Michal Biedzki said in the article.

Bos told IPE that it plans to expand its operations through acquisitions, partnerships or greenfield operations.

“Should acquisition opportunities present themselves we would certainly have an interest, provided the opportunities meet Aegon’s various requirements, including future returns,” he added.

Aegon’s main competitors in the Polish market include local life insurance giant PZU, Amplico Life (the first life insurance company in Poland with foreign capital which has a reported 10.4% market share), Commercial Union and ING’s Nationale-Nederlanden.

“We think that the Polish market has good growth potential and Aegon is probably not the only company that has made this assessment,” said Bos.