Belgian health sector fund could attract 250,000

BELGIUM – Yesterday’s announcement in Brussels that the VKG-CPM, €552m Belgian pension fund for doctors, dentists and pharmacists, had established a new supplementary healthcare sector pension fund, ‘Amonis’, with a potential active membership of 250,000, is possibly one of the most significant in the Belgian pensions and investments markets in recent times.

The initiative is clearly in line with the Belgian government’s desire to create industry sector funds for as many different professions as possible under the forthcoming Vandenbroucke law.

And while the ink is not dry on the legislation just yet, the boost to the government’s plans with the creation of Amonis, could not be clearer.

Amonis, drawn from the Egyptian god Amon, creator of life and longevity, and the Latin verbs Munire (protect) and Munerare (offer), takes the form of both a Sicav and a mutual life insurance company.

The Sicav – significantly the first non-banking entity of its kind in Belgium, will be open to both institutional and private investors within the healthcare sector from the middle of October.
The structure leverages off VKG’s experience in asset management and pensions services and consists of nine compartments with VKG overseeing the management, administration and actuarial services.

State Street will carry out the custody, performance measurement and portfolio analysis for the Sicav, while the range of fund managers on offer is as follows:
* Fiduciary Trust – European corporate bonds.
* Alliance Capital – Emerging markets large cap and European global large cap value.
* Puilaetco – European mid cap growth equities.
* Singer & Friedlander – European small cap equities.
* Gartmore - European global large cap growth, and Japanese mid cap growth equities.
* MFS International - US/Canada mid cap growth.
* Bank Corluy Effectenbankiers - Government bonds Europe.

Professions can either set up their own pension fund and join the Amonis structure or invest through the Sicav.
Already the VIKIN pension scheme for some 24,000 Kinesiologists in Belgium has joined Amonis.
The group is also in discussion with the VKA chemists sector on membership and other existing plans Amonis says it would like to bring on board include the country’s pharmacists.
Damiel Désir of the VKG/CPM, comments: “our aim is to have distinct structures but synergies.
“We want to respect all these different sensibilities in a platform that is quite heterogenous.”

Désir adds that in order for the fund to guarantee expertise and independence, Amonis will have a board comprised of top industry, social and government experts that will be asking “all the right questions” of the organisations activities.

The life insurance company Amonis Life, which has yet to be fully approved, will also leverage off existing VKG provision, but has been expanded with a new software system for administration.
The firm says its initial target for insurance products will be the 100,000 plus member Belgian hospital sector, but notes that lot of “input” is still needed to decide on the individual products that can be offered within the life insurance arm.

Désir outlines the benefits of Amonis as a pensions group
“We are a not for profit organisation, so there are no shareholders to pay. One of the results of this is solidarity.
“New members are immediately covered fully from the start of their contributions, which is important in the case of accidents, etc.
Transparency he adds is also key: “CPM/VKG members know that can ask any questions about their pension and get regular information at any time.
“One of the other important aspects is that the structure means that charges will be reduced.”

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