Belgian banks and asset managers Petercam and Bank Degroof have confirmed plans to merge operations and expand Petercam’s asset management operations in the Netherlands.

Once approved, the merger will create a €47bn asset manager and the largest independent financial services provider in Belgium, the two privately owned companies said.

In 2012, Petercam had roughly 40 mandates for Dutch institutional investors of between €10m and €15m, according to IP Nederland, predecessor of IPE sister publication PensioenPro.

The mandates focused on specialised strategies, such as European equity and agricultural equity.

As of the end of 2013, Petercam had €8.6bn in institutional assets under management (AUM), while Degroof has €4.3bn in institutional AUM.

It does not, however, have a presence or institutional clients in the Netherlands.

A spokesman for the bank said the newly merged company would seek to expand in the Dutch pensions market.

“We have a European target,” he added.

The merger could be completed in the second half of this year, pending regulatory approval, the parties said.

In other news, the €225m pension fund of Dutch investment bank NIBC has switched to a collective defined contribution plan.

It added that the employer had provided an extra contribution of €12.5m to compensate for the “disadvantages” of the new arrangements, as well as to end its obligation to meet future funding shortfalls.

NIBC had partial final salary arrangements in place for its 500 employees.