BELGIUM - The support within the Belgian metal industry for the pension fund being set up for white collar workers will be known next month, says Fritz Potemans of Agoria, the Brussels-based association for employer groups in the industry.

The scheme follows in the steps of the successful launch some two years ago of Le Fonds de Pension Métal for blue collar workers, which now has 175,000 members contributing.

This new scheme is more complicated to launch, he explains, because of the coverage already provided to white collar workers compared with blue collar. Of the 50 to 60,000 such workers in the industry, Agoria reckons up to 60% will have some coverage.

“Our idea is to provide something for those with nothing from their employers,” he says. “But we need to make sure existing company plans are not affected by what we are going to do.”

The expectation is that up to 10,000 could be eligible to join the scheme, which will be compulsory where employers do not provide equivalent coverage.

The decision has been taken to outsource this scheme to Integrale, a multi-employer pensions provider, that was chosen after an extensive search, asking potential providers to indicate their views on running such a scheme, says Potemans. “The firm was very cost effective, charging just 3% of income. They have produced some very good returns for investors.”

The contribution rate has been set initially at 0.5% of salaries, payable by the employers. From July, once the numbers are known the work will be put in hand to get the administration working, with the scheme starting in October.