NETHERLANDS – Dutch healthcare, coatings and chemicals group Akzo Nobel is understood to be looking to outsource its pension responsibilities in a Philips-style deal.

The Akzo Nobel pension scheme has a little more than 53,000 members and assets under management of some €4bn.

Electronics giant Philips agreed in April to outsource the management of its €12bn in Dutch pension assets to Merrill Lynch Investment Management and its administration to Hewitt.

That agreement raised eyebrows in the Netherlands, not least because it put a value on the administration of a fund.

Since the announcement of the Philips deal there has been speculation in the Dutch market as consultants and other observers waited to see which corporate pension fund would follow suit.

Akzo Nobel pension fund managing director Alexander Bolwerk was non-committal when approached by IPE, saying: “In general we are always looking and have been looking whether we should do it ourselves or together with somebody else. But I do not consider the Philips model as the one and only.”

However, he refused to deny that a similar deal is in preparation.

He also declined to identify the managers of the Akzo Nobel pension fund, saying: “We consider that to_be privileged information.”