NETHERLANDS - A court ruling has stated the over €1.3m in fines imposed on ABP and PGGM for illegally promoting the ‘levensloop' or life course scheme, by pension regulator De Nederlandsche Bank, are final.

Both schemes have violated the anti-competition rules at the expense of other market players, such as insurers, the college for corporate appeal (College van Beroep voor het Bedrijfsleven) has decided.

Both schemes had established Loyalis and Careon as respective subsidiaries to offer the tax-friendly ‘levensloop' scheme because the ABP €216bn civil service and the PGGM €88bn healthcare pension schemes were not allowed under regulatory rules to directly provide levensloop schemess.

In the opinion of the appeal college, the subsidiaries therefore took an unjust advantage by benefiting from their parent companies' reputation and the fines stand as a result.

The Dutch Association of Insurers (VvV) initiated a court case against ABP and PGGM for promoting the levensloop products of their subsidiaries to their members over two years ago.

Both schemes sued DNB on the subsequently-imposed fines, insisting they have never approached any of their two million plus members with personal mailings, and made it clear not to be prepared to pay the fines.

But ABP spokesman Hans ten Brinke confirmed to IPE today: "We have exhausted all the options for appeal in the meantime. We'll pay the fine, but we have already entered discussions with the government on the - in our opinion - too strict interpretation of the legislation on industry-wide schemes. We think the rules should be changed, to allow us more freedom of movement," he explained.