NETHERLANDS – Chemicals firm Akzo Nobel has chosen insurer Aegon as provider of the collective levensloop, or ‘life course’, scheme for its 20,000 employees, Aegon said in a statement.

Akzo made the choice after an extensive selection procedure, during which it has assessed offers of 10 banks and insurers, its spokesman Paul van der Boor added.

According to Van der Boor, Aegon had offered the best fixed interest rate of 4.3%, and reduced switch and deposit costs. He declined to give details on the discount. Aegon will carry out the administration of the scheme as well.

Akzo Nobel will transfer all released prepension assets into brut savings per worker, which they can put into the Aegon LevensloopAccount.

Apart from the option of saving, participants in the Aegon scheme can choose for ‘profile investing’. This offers an investment mix which gets less risky as the retirement date approaches.

According to Aegon, an optional deposit guarantee will secure the benefits for employees who want to retire earlier.

Aegon spokesman Ronald Kooren declined to mention the numbers of levensloop schemes that have been contracted out to the insurer so far. “But we are ambitious on the levensloop market and, partly due to the contract with Akzo Nobel, we are well on our way. There are several contracts in the pipeline as well”.

The levensloop is a new tax-friendly savings scheme for parental or care leave and early retirement. It will replace the existing VUT and prepension schemes as of 2006.