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Dutch railways fund pulls out of merger

Spoorwegpensioenfonds Beheer, the Dutch railways pension scheme has retreated from a proposed DFl40bn (E63bn) collaboration with GUO Fondsenbeheer, the DFl10bn fund for agriculture and meat industry workers and Detam Pensioen Services (DPS), the DFl10bn scheme for cleaning and retail trades, citing a difference in cultures between the schemes.
But GUO and DPS have stated they will proceed with partnership arrangements, whilst indicating the possibility of a link up with other plans.
Ton Groeneveld, head of investment at Spoorweg, comments: “We decided to end negotiations with the other two funds due to their incorporation with insurance companies, and we wished to remain independent in any kind of collaboration model.
“We are, however, still looking at co-operation with other funds and in the coming months I believe we will come back with alternative propositions.”
Michelle Wijnants at GUO, says: “GUO and DPS are continuing the co-operation process and expect to have a final decision before the end of June.” The merger would create a fund with a value of DFl20bn, and Wijnants adds: “We are still investigating what the final set-up will be, but it will probably involve a pooling of the assets as well as resources and personnel. There are no other funds involved yet, but this is still a possibility.”
GUO and DPS have indicated such a merger would enable the schemes to effectively anticipate developments in the pension and asset management market.
And in a separate initiative the DFl3bn Delft based TNO Dutch policy and research group pension fund is also seeking partners.
Erik van Ballegooijen, director of the TNO fund, says: “We were looking into collaboration with the Pharmaceutical pension fund, but that has been blown off course. However, at present we are negotiating with three unnamed pension funds of similar size to ourselves on the possibility of a joint venture.
“We are building new headquarters in Rijswijk, but the four storey building will be too large for our own needs - so we are looking for this collaboration to combine resources and pension fund knowledge.” Hugh Wheelan

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